Sociology Index


Consumer culture has come to represent consumer identities. Consumer culture is about what we consume and the way in which we consume goods and services. Motivation research translates counterculture attachments into a consumer culture centred on individual self-realization. Consumer culture theory includes theories from Fashion Culture and Popular Culture. Fashion and consumer culture is about consumption, media representations of the fashion industry, consumer activism, and consumption. Conspicuous consumption is also reflected in consumer culture.

Perspectives on Consumer Culture - Mike Featherstone. Consumer culture which develops around the accumulation of commodities as leading to greater manipulation and control. Consumer culture focuses upon the way in which goods are variably used to create distinctions and reinforce social relationships. Culture perspective examines the emotional and aesthetic pleasures, the desires and dreams generated within particular sites of consumption and by consumer culture imagery. The paper discusses the alleged tendencies towards cultural disorder and de-classification within consumer culture which some refer to as postmodernism. 

Abstracts On Consumer Culture

Chicano Lite - Mexican-American consumer culture on the border. Howard Campbell. Despite their subordinated class and status positions in US society, Mexican-Americans create spaces of resistant cultural meaning within consumer spheres normally treated as generically Anglo-American. US consumer culture is both a source of self-fulfilment and a means through which Mexican-Americans become further enmeshed in a system of vastly unequal political and economic power.

The Rise of Consumer Culture in a Chinese Society: A Reading of Banking Television Commercials in Hong Kong During the 1970s - Wendy Siuyi Wong. The Hang Seng Bank campaign focused on the traditional banking practice of saving, encouraging customers to work hard and gradually accumulate wealth. The later Hongkong Bank campaign encouraged spending, immediate gratification of material desires, and symbolic communications achieved through acquisition of goods.

Consumer Culture and the Culture of poverty: Implications for Marketingtheory and Practice - Ronald Paul Hill, University of Portland. This paper explores the influence of the larger material culture on consumers living within the culture of poverty so that the scholarly community mightbetter understand the actual as well as potential role marketing plays in the lives of the poor.

From Counterculture to Consumer Culture: Vespa and the Italian youth market, 1958-78 - Adam Arvidsson. This article contributes to an analysis of the origins of contemporary post-modern consumer culture, centred on the notion of lifestyle choice. Although the Vespa had become an icon of the international youth culture already at the beginning of this period, it is argued that Piaggio's advertising agency did not appropriate the counterculture on account of its quantitative importance. Countercultural attachments were mobilized and made part of Piaggio's advertising discourse first when they harmonized with visions for a future 'postmaterialistic' consumer society harboured by advertising professionals.

Marketing Sadism: Super-Cannes and Consumer Culture. James Fitchett. This article examines the possibilities and futures of consumer society and the progression of a post-moral marketing paradigm through a critical review of J.G. Ballard’s Super-Cannes.

What is new in the ‘south’? Consumer culture and the vicissitudes of poor youth’s identity construction in urban Brazil. Lucia Rabello De Castro. The hypothesis is illustrated with a discussion of the cases of the drug dealer, the religious fanatic and the labourer. New cultural forms of consumer culture also convey claims for recognition and justice, shown by the musical expressions coming from the peripheries of big cities.

Shopping Malls, Consumer Culture and the Reshaping of Public Space in Egypt - Mona Abaza. Egypt witnessed in the last decade, as in many Southeast Asian mega-cities, the reshaping of public space through the creation of new shopping malls and recreation places. This went hand in hand with the 'urban gentrification' of certain areas of the city of Cairo, which is continuing at the expense of pushing away the poor. This article attempts to look at the variations of shopping malls in Cairo and the new phenomenon of hybridization of tastes. One can observe the creation of `chic' shopping malls functioning parallel to popular and working-class malls which are frequented by different classes.

Consumer Culture, Islam and the Politics of Lifestyle: Fashion for Veiling in Contemporary Turkey - Baris Kilicbay, Muta Binark, Gazi University, Turkey. The authors focus on the shifting meanings of the practice of veiling due to the articulation of Islamic faith into consumer culture, as evidenced in advertising images and commentaries taken from Islamic women's magazines, and fashion catalogues of major Islamic clothing companies.

Consumer Culture and the Commodification of Policing and Security
Ian Loader. I argue that the commodification of policing and security can fruitfully be theorised and investigated in terms of the spread of consumer culture. I begin by examining how a culture of consumption is pervading the practices and rhetoric of the public police and outlining the impact of 'consumerism' on lay sensibilities towards policing.

The punitive consequences of consumer culture
Barry Vaughan, Institute of Public Administration, Dublin, Ireland.
This article takes as its starting point a public punitiveness that is novel in its lack of sympathy for and stridency against offenders. It is suggested that this punitiveness can be partly explained by the ascent of consumerism as an axial principle of life today. Girard argues that disputes emerge within consumer cultures when there are no public prohibitions on consumption.

"You're a Guaranteed Winner": Composing "You" in a Consumer Culture
Helen Rothschild Ewald, Roberta Vann, Iowa State University.
This article explores the functional elegance of direct mail as it con structs its target audience. More specifically, it examines direct mail ings included in a nationally publicized court case involving Publish ers' Clearing House and articulates how the use of particular genre-based, rhetorical and linguistic strategies in these mailings con struct reader identity.

Globalized consumer culture: Its implications for social justice and practice teaching in social work - Besthorn, Fred H.
The Journal of Practice Teaching in Health and Social Work, Volume 5, Number 3, 2004, pp. 20-39(20).
Abstract: Globalised consumer culture and its corresponding ethos that accumulation of material possessions equates to happiness are having a profound impact on the physical, social and emotional health of human beings.

POSTMODERN CONSUMER CULTURE WITHOUT POSTMODERNITY: COPYING THE CRISIS OF SIGNIFICATION. Kang M.K. - Abstract: The purpose of this study was to interpret the meaning of the postmodern discourse produced by Korean television advertisements, by categorizing postmodern television advertisements and describing their representations and images of reality indetail. How can we interpret the phenomena of imitating and assimilating the style of advertisements from the reservoir of postmodern signifiers, while not taking into account the values, ideas and ways of thinking implicit in such advertisements? First, it would be an effect of structural dependence, in which postmodern consumer cultural forms are replicated and replace local products with mass-produced goods. Second, the assimilation of postmodern advertisements in Korean television means a newly emergent hybrid culture.

Culture, Consumption, and Adult Education: Refashioning Consumer Education for Adults as a Political Site Using a Cultural Studies Framework. Jennifer A. Sandlin. The field of adult education exists within a context of consumer capitalism, although adult educators have failed to acknowledge how central consumption is to today’s society. Traditional consumer education has typically focused on technical skills, and thus positions itself outside the social, political, and cultural realms. The author retheorizes consumer education into a more critical enterprise using the framework of cultural studies. She argues that consumer education is a political site that creates consumers with a range of reactions to consumer culture.

Theories of Overindebtedness: Interaction of Structure and Culture 
Jean Braucher. Abstract: Consumer bankruptcy scholars typically stress either a structural or a cultural account of individuals' problems with debt. The interaction of structure and culture has practical policy implications. Structural changes such as interest-rate deregulation inevitably transform both business and consumer culture. Policies designed to create a different consumer culture will have a hard time when pitted against strong structural causes of overindebtedness.

Books On Consumer Culture

The Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939-1979.
Daniel Horowitz. The reactions of prominent American writers to the unprecedented prosperity of the decades following World War II. The book begins with an examination of Lewis Mumford's wartime call for "democratic" consumption and concludes with an analysis of the origins of President Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech of 1979. Daniel Horowitz documents a broad range of competing views, each in its own way reflective of a deep-seated ambivalence toward consumer culture.

Freaks, Geeks and Cool Kids: American Teenagers, Schools, and the Culture of Consumption. - Murray, Jr. Milner. Sociologist Murray Milner tries to understand why teenagers behave the way they do. Drawing upon two years of intensive fieldwork in one high school and 300 written interviews about high schools across the country, he argues that consumer culture has greatly impacted the way our youth relate to one another and understand themselves and society. Murray Milner also suggests that the status systems in high schools are in and of themselves an important contributing factor to the creation and maintenance of consumer capitalism explaining the importance of designer jeans and designer drugs in an effort to be the coolest kid in the class. 

Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture: Advertising's Impact on American Character and Society: Advertising's Impact on American Character and Society. Arthur Asa Berger. The new edition includes excellent, current examples that will be welcomed by students and professors alike. - Dirk vom Lehn, King's College London. "Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture provides an accessible overview of advertising in the United States, spanning issues as diverse as sexuality, politics, market research, consumer culture, and more, helping readers understand the role that advertising has played, and continues to play, in all our lives."

The Image Factory: Consumer Culture, Photography and the Visual Content Industry (New Technologies/New Cultures). Paul Frosh. Quietly but implacably, powerful transnational corporations are gaining power over our visual world. A 'global, visual content industry' increasingly controls images supplied to advertisers, marketers and designers, yet so far the process has, paradoxically, evaded the public eye. This book is the first to expose the interior workings of the visual content industry, which produces approximately 70 per cent of the images that define consumer cultures.

Voluntary Simplicity: Responding to Consumer Culture
Daniel Doherty (Editor), Amitai Etzioni (Editor). The mere concept of simplicity in this world of over-inflated consumerism is challenging from the onset. Yet each contributor, relying upon their individualized perspectives, explores the subject with strong opinions, and shares their support or critique of the matter with enough information to allow the reader to form their own opinions of the viability or appeal as it relates to the reader's own lifestyle. (Metapsychology).

City Limits: Crime, Consumer Culture and the Urban Experience (Criminology S.)
Keith J. Hayward. Presents an ambitious theoretical analysis that attempts to inspire a 'cultural approach' to understanding the 'crime-city nexus' and, in particular, to re-address 'strain' and the concept of 'relative deprivation' in the context of a culture of consumption.

Fanning the Flames: Fans and Consumer Culture in Contemporary Japan (Suny Series in Japan in Transition). William W. Kelly (Editor). The contributors explore the many ways that fans in and of Japanese mass culture actively search for intimacy and identity amid the powerful corporate structures that produce the leisure and entertainment of today’s Japan.

Shop 'til You Drop: Consumer Behavior and American Culture - Arthur Asa Berger. Are we one unified consumer culture or are several cultures operating and battling against one another? Arthur Asa Berger uncovers the answers to these and other questions, considering the sacred roots of consumer culture, the demographics of consumption, theories about competing cultures, and the semiotics of shopping.