Affluent Consumption and the Global Economy
New Directions in Modern Economics series
Chapter 3: Socio-cultural Consumption
A. INTRODUCTION All acts of consumption have social and cultural dimensions. In the system of abundance this means that all spending by the people of plenty is subject to processes of socialisation and enculturation. Consumer spending in other words is influenced, to a greater or lesser extent, by powerful socio-cultural forces. Socio-cultural consumption is a heterogeneous category. There are three drivers of socio-cultural spending which all share a common bond – they all have a group-based dimension. The first driver is ritual-based consumption which involves collective acts of consumption, conducted with and for others. The second driver is conspicuous consumption, first made famous by Veblen and then amended by Bourdieu. The third, less well known, driver is inconspicuous consumption, first identified by Katona. Both conspicuous and inconspicuous consumption can, in the right circumstances, be ratcheted up through the dynamic of emulative spending. However, the socio-cultural dimension of the human condition also imposes a potential socialised constraint on spending – the ascetic morality of restraint; this constraint applies with force to societies where an ascetic morality is widely accepted. To analyse socio-cultural consumption a distinctive conception of the consumer is required based around the epistemological insights of George Herbert Mead. The consumer is a socialised individual who has personal agency, but whose feelings, thoughts and actions are subject to a range of socio-cultural factors. Socialised consumers act collectively with others in groups. The desire to belong to a group, and to feel, think and act collectively, is a very strong human urge. Socio-cultural...
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.