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A Social and Economic Theory of Consumption
Kaj Ilmonen was a pioneer in the third wave of the sociology of consumption in the 1970s; an original and erudite scholar and sociological theorist. This book provides a balanced overview of the sociology of consumption, reaching out towards its current and future development. The author's argument is that the enthusiasm of 'the third wave' exaggerated the role of the symbolic and imaginary at the expense of the materiality of human societies. Going back to Marx he reminds us that consumption should be seen as part of the metabolism between nature and human societies, with specific characteristics in modern capitalism. In a curious way, affluent societies highlight features of the fundamental mechanisms of the social bond, such as gift exchange. Even money, the institution that we associate with calculative rationality, obeys laws that violate the rules of equivalent exchange and quantitative measurement.
Inhaltsverzeichnis :
List of Figures viii

Foreword ix

1 The Sociology of Consumption: a Brief History
1.1 Classical stage of sociology: the first wave of the. - sociology of consumption
1.2 The second wave of the sociology of consumption
1.3 The discipline takes shape: the third stage of the sociology of consumption
1.4 Current trends in the sociology of consumption

2 Markets and the Neo-liberal Utopia of Omnipotent Markets
2.1 Adam Smith, the state and markets
2.2 Markets and twentieth-century neo-liberal economics
2.3 Institutional conditions for markets _-
2.4 Self-interested Homo economicus - an assumption to facilitate economic modelling
2.5 Neo-liberal economic theory and how it shapes the economy

3 Commodities and Consumption: General and Specific Features
3.1 Aspects of commodity and consumption
3.2 The decommodification of products
3.3 The multiple dimensions of commodity: methodological implications

4 Want, Need and Commodity
4.1 Need as a universal category
4.2 Need and activity
4.3 Interpretation, tradition and symbolic value
4.4 The historicity of desires: an empirical and conceptual analysis
4.5 Traditional and modern hedonism

5 Consumption and the Necessary Economic Conditions for Consumption
5.1 Income and consumption
5.2 Income, consumer-choice theory and Engel's Law
5.3 Engel's Law and income groups
5.4 On the limits of consumer-choice theory
5.5 Consumer choices and prices

6 The Use and Meanings of Money
6.1 Money as value and symbol
6.2 Profane and sacred money
6.3 Blessed, cursed and profane money
6.4 Use of money and ways of sacralizing it
6.5 Profane money and its uses in the household

7 Mechanisms of Consumption Choice and Their General Cultural Framework
7.1 Culture as a frame of reference for food choices
7.1.1 Gustemes of everyday food choices
7.1.2 Gustemes of feast choices
7.2 Mechanisms of consumption choice
7.2.1 Convention, tradition and consumption choice Tradition and convention: differences and similarities Convention, tradition, everyday and feast
7.2.2 Routines and consumption Action and behaviour Forms of behaviour and circumstances Routines and consumption choices
7.2.3 Style and choice of food Style and the problem of taste Prestige foods and trickle down Limits of the trickle-down mechanism New social anchorage for food styles
7.2.4 Fashion and choice of food Fashion and time The lure of fashion: communicating contraries Food fashions
7.3 Mechanisms of food choice and the selection event
7.4 Consumption choice - where structure and action meet

8 Consumption As Ideological Discourse
8.1 Ideology and everyday practices
8.2 Consumption as mediator of ideological meanings?
8.3 Commodity fetishism and consumption as a means of classification
8.4 Structural differences between men's and women's consumption
8.5 Consumption and hierarchical divisions

9 Consumption As Use: Our Relationship to Commodities
9.1 Consumption and our relationship to objects
9.2 Individualization and sociality
9.3 Towards a theory of use: 'work of hybridization'
9.4 Appropriation of commodities: internalization
9.5 The externalization of commodities, or how internalized commodities can assume a general meaning
References '
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