Table of Contents

The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition

The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition

Edited by John B. Davis and Wilfred Dolfsma

Social economics is a dynamic and growing field that emphasizes the key roles social values play in the economy and economic life. This second edition of the Elgar Companion to Social Economics revises all chapters from the first edition, and adds important new chapters to reflect the expansion and development of social economics. The expert contributions explain a wide range of recent developments across different subject areas and topics in the field, mapping out possible directions of future social economic research. Social economics treats the economy and economics as embedded in a web of social and ethical relationships. It considers economics and ethics as essentially connected, and adds values such as justice, fairness, dignity, well-being, freedom, and equality to the standard emphasis on efficiency. This book will be a leading resource and guide to social economics for many years to come.

Chapter 9: The socio-economics of consumption: solutions to the problems of interest, knowledge and identity

Metin M. Cosgel

Subjects: business and management, business ethics and trust, economics and finance, institutional economics, methodology of economics, public sector economics, social policy and sociology, economics of social policy

Extract

Consumption is a social activity. Although economics textbooks typically portray the choice of a consumption bundle simply as the solution to a constrained maximization problem with given preferences, social economists have variously expanded the basic theory of choice and offered alternatives to it based on insights from heterodox approaches and other disciplines. They have shown that consumption choices not only maximize utility but also display wealth, express beliefs and maintain identity. There are numerous comprehensive reviews of the enormous multidisciplinary literature on consumption. Rather than aim at a similar standard review of this literature, it would be more appropriate for this volume to adopt a distinct approach in evaluating socio-economic contributions. An approach that has been useful in studying various economic phenomena, helping to shed new light on old problems and to discover new problems for further exploration, is to view the economy as conversation. To sustain a coherent line of thought throughout the review, I adopt this approach in studying consumption and interpret previous social economic studies of consumption as investigations of behavior and institutions that contribute to these conversations. I organize these studies into a coherent whole and distinguish between conversations according to the type of problem they aim to solve. Identifying three types of conversations relevant to the study of consumption – solving the problems of interest, knowledge and identity – I discuss the main themes and important contributions in each category and offer suggestions for further research.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information