Canonical Authors in Consumption Theory: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Canonical Authors in Consumption Theory

1st Edition

Edited by Søren Askegaard, Benoît Heilbrunn


290 pages

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Canonical Authors in Consumption Theory is the first work to compile the contributions of the greatest social thinkers in the global conversation about consumption and consumer culture. A prestigious reference work, it offers original chapters by the world's most prominent thought leaders and surveys how the work of historical theorists has influenced and shaped consumption theory, both through history and at the cutting edge of research.

Consumption is at the core of contemporary lifestyles, of political successes and failures and of discussions around sustainability and environmental change. Contemporary consumer culture shapes modern identities, and is the engine of the globalizing capitalist economy. Still, most social theorizations over the last century and a half have addressed production processes rather than consumption processes. This is about to change. Studies of consumption play an increasing role as a topic and a domain of study in marketing, anthropology, sociology and cultural studies.

Currently, there is no single compilation that systematically links scholarly work published by the greatest social thinkers of the last 150 years to the understanding of contemporary consumer society. This book provides a solid framework for understanding the relevance of these canonical authors in social theory to facilitate analysis of consumer culture, and to act as a comprehensive reference point for consumer researchers, doctoral students and practitioners.

Table of Contents


1 In search of consumption . . .

Søren Askegaard and Benoît Heilbrunn

PART II Political economy and the quest for value

2 Marx, commodity and consumer culture

A. Fuat Fırat

3 Why bother with Nietzsche?

James Fitchett

4 Beyond disenchantment: Weber and the search for legitimacy

Melanie Wallendorf

5 Karl Polanyi: whence the marketing mind?

Dannie Kjeldgaard

PART III Anthropology and consumption

6 Marcel Mauss: the gift that moves . . .

Eric J. Arnould

7 Thick prescription: notes on the influence of Clifford Geertz on CCT

John F. Sherry, Jr.

8 Mary Douglas: consumption codes, meaning structures and classification systems

Ian Woodward

9 In defense of cultural economy: Marshall Sahlins

Eric J. Arnould

PART IV System and structuration

10 Bronislaw Malinowski, or the elementary material and symbolic forms of production, exchange and consumption

Dominique Desjeux

11 Claude Lévi-Strauss and the structural fabric of meaning

Benoît Heilbrunn

12 Talcott Parsons: structural foundations for cultural sociology

Melanie Wallendorf

13 The relevance of consumption in Niklas Luhmann’s theory of society

Kai-Uwe Hellmann and Marius K. Luedicke

PART V Identity trajectories

14 Mind, self and consumption: George Herbert Mead

Cele Otnes

15 Sartre’s insights for identity, desire, the gift and posthumanism

Russell Belk

16 Paul Ricoeur, vigil of the self

Benoît Heilbrunn

17 Habermas: reigniting enlightenment reason

Jeff B. Murray

PART VI Civilization and history

18 Remembering Walter Benjamin, or the death of the last intellectual

Robert Kozinets

19 Norbert Elias: figurations and consumption

Robin Canniford

20 Braudel’s notions of time, capitalism and market

Eminegül Karababa

PART VII The language of commodities

21 Shopping with Charles Peirce: from sign meaning to sign degeneracy in the marketplace

Kent Grayson

22 Roland Barthes: the (anti-)structuralist

Luca M. Visconti

23 Jean Baudrillard: the Nietzsche of our times(?)

Per Østergaard (with a little help from his friends)

24 Bruno Latour: philosopher of togetherness in action

Domen Bajde

PART VIII Power games 197

25 Adorno, Horkheimer and the audacity of reason

Jeff B. Murray

26 Pierre Bourdieu: luminary or elitist? Capital and the project of consumption

Christina Goulding

27 Producing Foucauldians: consumer culture theory and the analytics of power

28 De Certeau: a thinker of the everyday

Véronique Cova and Nil Özçağlar-Toulouse

29 Judith Butler: gender performativity and heterosexual hegemony

Pauline Maclaran

PART IX The imaginary and humanity

30 Freud the scientist?

John Desmond

31 The consumer as sovereign: the general economy of Georges Bataille

Christian Jantzen

32 Edgar Morin: the uniduality of the magical and the real

Søren Askegaard

33 Beyond reductionism, constructivism and arbitrary sampling in consumer research thanks to Castoriadis

Dominique Bouchet

34 Ž ižek: a pervert’s guide to the libidinal narcissistic economy

Alan Bradshaw

PART X Postscript

35 To ERR is human: on failing to read (and forgetting to remember) the classics

Stephen Brown

About the Editors

Søren Askegaard is Professor of Marketing at the University of Southern Denmark.

Benoît Heilbrunn is Professor of Marketing at ESCP Europe, France.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Consumer Behavior
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Marketing / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General