Ashgate has Published STI’s “Being Human in a Consumer Society”

25 Feb 2015

Fruit of the 2011 STI Experts Meeting of the same name, this book analyzes the structural and cultural transformations that can be identified in a consumer society.

Academic book and journal Publisher Ashgate has published Being Human in a Consumer Society. Alejandro Néstor García Martínez, who attended the meeting from which the book stems, served as Editor and contributed the Introduction, titled “Why Consumption and What Society?”

The book brings together work by scholars from different disciplines and countries. It tries to engage with questions concerning our globalized and globalizing world, where consumerism is a keystone for understanding our contemporary culture and its social structures. The book analyzes the structural and cultural transformations that can be identified in a consumer society, with attention to a wide range of subjects, including post-emotional law and responsibility, dehumanized consumption and ‘prosumerism,’ fashion, embodiment, conspicuous consumption, and sustainability.

Following García’s introduction, the book’s 9 essays are organized in three sections. As García explains, the first, Blurring Human Beings: Structural Constrictions in Consumer Society, focuses on “the structural constrictions that seem to determine human choices…” It includes chapters by Stjepan G. Mestrovic (Postemotional law in consumer society), George Ritzer (The dehumanized consumer: does the prosumer offer some hope?) and Colin Campbell (Status matters? The contradictions surrounding conspicuous consumption).

The second section, Consumer Culture as Mediation in Human Relationships, adds “more phenomenological and relational aspects involved in consumers’ behavior.”  It includes chapters by Pablo García-Ruiz (The two faces of consumerism: when things make us (in)human), Allison J. Pugh (Accepting and resisting insecurity: using consumer culture to have it both ways?) and  Karin M. Ekström (Conformity and distinction in Scandinavia’s largest department store).

The final section, Framing the Human Being in a Consumer Society, “suggests the idea of understanding consumer culture as ‘lived culture’.”  It includes articles by Talbot Brewer (Reflections on the cultural commons), Efrat Tseëlon (Fashion skirts the ethical agenda) and Roberta Sassatelli (Framing humanity consumerwise: embodied consumer selves and their varieties)