The phenomenon of consumption has increasingly drawn attention from economists. While the ‘sole purpose of production is consumption’, as Adam Smith has claimed, economists have up to recently generally ignored the topic.
This book brings together a range of different perspectives on the topic of consumption that will finally shed the necessary light on a largely neglected theme, such as
- Why is the consumption of symbolic goods different than that of goods that are not constitutive of individuals’ identity?
- How does the consumption of symbolic goods affect social processes and economic phenomena?
- Will taking consumption (of symbolic goods) seriously impact economics itself?
The book discusses these issues theoretically, and, through analyses of such cases as food, religion, fashion, empirically as well. It also discusses the possible role in the future of consumption.
This book was previously published as a special issue of Review of Social Economy
Table of Contents
Consuming Symbolic Goods: Identity and Commitment - Introduction Wilfred Dolfsma. Lauding the Leisure Class: Symbolic Content and Conspicuous Consumption Alan Shipman. Consumption, Identity, and the Sociocultural Constitution of 'Preferences': Reading Women's Magazines Martha A. Star. You Are What You Eat: The Social Economy of the Slow Food Movement Bruce Pietrykowski. Consuming Values and Contested Cultures: A Critical Analysis of the UK Strategy for Sustainable Consumption and Production Gill Seyfang. Religious Identity and Consumption Metin M. Cogel and Lanse Minkler. Paradoxes of Modernist Consumption: Reading Fashions Wilfred Dolfsma. Are Unpreferred Preferences Weak in Symbolic Content? David George. The Gift Paradox: Complex Selves and Symbolic Good Elias L. Khalil. Deriving the Engel Curve: Pierre Bourdieu and the Social Critique of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Andrew B. Trigg. The Post Affluent Society Amitai Etzioni
Wilfred Dolfsma is both an economist and philosopher and holds a PhD in the former. He is attached to the Utrecht School of Economics as an Associate Professor, to Maastricht University (UNU-MERIT) as a professorial fellow, and is corresponding editor for the Review of Social Economy. He has won the Hellen Potter best article award and the Gunnar Myrdal best book award. His research interests are the interrelations between economy, society and technology. He has published on various aspects of media industries, feminist economics as well as on globalisation, and the developments in and effects of IPR. In addition, as an institutional economist, Dolfsma does research in the history and methodology of economics, and consumption.