Chapter 13: Consumption
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This chapter surveys anthropological theorising and research on consumption, defined here as the creation, exchange, and destruction of material things toward constituting dynamic spheres of social action and meaning. Focusing on classic and contemporary analysis, we organise this research into five broad categories, each of which differently frame the scope and significance of consumptive practices. Social approaches see consumption as the orchestration and maintenance of interpersonal relationships, whereas ecological tacks position consumption as a strategy for navigating one's immediate environment. Categorical interpretations describe consumption as a technology for creating societal hierarchies and divisions. Studies of visceral consumption problematise the relationship between consumer and consumed. Finally, those within capital consumption's camp attempt to reassert consumption in terms of conflict, inequality, and power. We conclude by considering the expanding horizons of consumption theory, and the continued importance of this category of behaviour to the development of economic anthropology.

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