This is not the place to go into a lengthy analysis of why American sociologists continue to devote comparatively little attention to consumption that would make an interesting study in the sociology of knowledge and of sociology.
A Sub-Field in Search of Discovery by George Ritzer University of Maryland Among the more inexplicable aspects of contemporary American sociology has been the virtual absence of a sociology of consumption in a society increasingly defined by consumption.
However, a search within sociology, or of the indexes of introductory sociology textbooks, would show almost the complete reverse. Their general complaint is that sociology has been dominated by the nineteenth-century concerns of the classical theorists— alienationbureaucracysocial classthe division of labourand other characteristics of early industrial capitalism—all of which emphasize production as the source of social meaning and the basis of social order or conflict.
That British sociologists have been better able to overcome that bias than their American peers may be traceable to the fact that it is easier to become concerned about a foreign invasion of consumer items than it is to focus on the indigenous production of those same items. Discussion in Britain—and to a lesser extent some other European countries—has tended to focus on the particular claim that there is a major and novel consumption cleavage in advanced capitalist societies, between a majority of people who provide for their consumption requirements through the market, and a minority who remain reliant on increasingly inadequate state provision.
There are substantial overlaps here with the more diffuse and increasingly fashionable concerns addressed by students of cultural studies see, for example, Paul du Gay et al. He considers the way marketing, branding, and advertising creates markets, the globalization of consumption, and the environmental, political and environmental consequences and issues wrought by modern consumer culture.
Efforts are currently underway to form a section in the American Sociological Association devoted to the study of consumption. His focus is on the development Sociology of consumption consumer society and the mapping of consumption as a process. This is the case in spite of the fact that Great Britain comes nowhere close to the United States in terms of the creation of new consumer goods for example, innovations in computer hardware and softwarethe sites in which to consume them mega- and cyber- malls, for exampleand the means by which to pay for the goods and sometimes gain entry to the sites credit cards, among others.
The counter-claim would seem to be strongest in relation to housing, where the growth of owner-occupation and the long-term rise in the value of property has encouraged realization of substantial amounts of capital, mainly through the sale of houses inherited from an older generation.
Its substantive focus is the material culture especially the mass culture of advanced capitalist societies. How do we account for the comparative silence of American sociologists on the issue of consumption and the relative din on the subject from Great Britain?
Many of these are less original than is claimed, since they tend to echo themes such as commodity fetishismmaterialismstructural differentiationinequality, privatismand individualismall of which were familiar to the classical theorists themselves. Proponents of the sociology of consumption tend to argue that it provides an alternative focus for much of the work carried out in the tradition of urban sociologya new approach to the analysis of social inequality and political alignments, and sometimes the basis for a wholesale revolution in sociological thinking.
Another factor in the greater attention to consumption in Great Britain is the fact that culture of which consumption is a significant component became a focal concern there before American sociologists began to recognize its significance. Lury takes a more cultural and theoretical approach that focuses on objects, commodity circuits, and the meaning and process of exchanges, while Sassatelli integrates economic, philosophical, anthropological, and cultural approaches to the topic.
In many ways, this broader understanding of consumption points to a range of innovations within the field that have occurred in the last few decades, which in turn direct us to broader changes in patterns of sociological inquiry.In mainstream sociology, consumption was for most of the discipline’s history simply not a relevant analytic category, which explains why for much of sociology’s history consumption was understood through theories of capitalist production.
consumption, sociology of An as yet ill-defined and extremely diverse field of sociology that developed rapidly during the s. Its substantive focus is the material culture (especially the mass culture) of advanced capitalist societies.
Theories of consumption have been a part of the field of sociology since its earliest days, dating back, at least implicitly, to the work of Karl Marx in the mid-to-late nineteenth century.
Sociologists view consumption as central to everyday life, identity and social order. This book provides an insightful introduction into the sociology of consumption.
The introduction and the first 2 chapters examine consumption from a historical and theoretical standpoint. The remaining chapters could be stand-alone papers on the individual topics of department stores, advertising, women's magazines, the home, food and drink, tourism, the body, and clothing and fashion.4/5(2).
The sociology of consumption is a subfield of sociology formally recognized by the American Sociological Association as the Section on Consumers and Consumption. The Sociology of Consumption: A Global Approach offers college students, scholars, and interested readers a state-of-the-art overview of consumption the desire for, purchase, use, display, exchange, and disposal of goods and mint-body.com: $Download