Being Human in a Consumer Society


Bringing together work from across disciplines by scholars around the globe to engage with questions concerning our globalized and globalizing world, where consumerism is a keystone for understanding our contemporary culture and its social structures, Being Human in a Consumer Society will appeal to scholars and students of sociology, social theory, and contemporary philosophy.

This book offers a new perspective on sociological studies of the consumer society, introducing neglected normative questions relating to the good life and human flourishing - subjects more commonly discussed in fields of moral, political, and social philosophy. With attention to a wide range of subjects, including post-emotional law and responsibility, dehumanized consumption and ‘prosumerism,’ fashion, embodiment, conspicuous consumption, and sustainability, this book analyzes the structural and cultural transformations that can be identified in consumer society. It also offers a critical - but not pessimistic - view of the important question of whether consumption is leading to an increasing isolation, individualization or commodification of human beings, suggesting an analytical framework for understanding consumer culture and human praxis.

The first section, Blurring Human Beings: Structural Constrictions in Consumer Society, includes chapters by:

The second section, Consumer Culture as Mediation in Human Relationships, includes the following chapters:

  • 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?
  • Karin M. Ekström - Conformity and distinction in Scandinavia’s largest department store

The final section, Framing the Human Being in a Consumer Society, includes:

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