3rd Edition

Consumption and Everyday Life

By Mark Paterson Copyright 2023
    376 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    376 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    With an emphasis on everyday life, this respected text offers a lively and perceptive account of the key theories and ideas which dominate the field of consumption and consumer culture. This third revised and expanded edition is a major update of the text of the second edition, adding new chapters on youth culture and consumption, retail psychology, gender and consumption, the globalization of food, and digital consumption and platform capitalism.

    Theoretical perspectives are introduced such as theories of practice, critical theory, semiotics, and psychoanalysis. Examples from film, literature, and television are used to illustrate concepts and trends in consumption, and a wide range of engaging and up-to-date case studies of consumption are employed throughout. Historical context is provided to help the reader understand how we became consumers in the first place. Written by an experienced teacher, the book offers an accessible and thought-provoking introduction to the concept of consumption for students in sociology, cultural studies, human geography, history, anthropology, and social psychology.

    Introduction: we are all consumers

    Part I: The Times of Consumption: Modernity

    1. How we became consumers: historical theories of consumption

    2. You are what you buy: consumption, class, and identity

    3. Cathedrals, palaces, and paradises: the sites of consumption

    Part II: How We Consume Now

    4. The counterculture becomes consumer culture: the commodification of youth and rebellion

    5. ‘Just do it’: advertising and the power of the brand

    6. How they make you buy: retail psychology and the role of the senses

    7. Out of the kitchen at last? the gendered politics of consumption

    8. Nature, Inc.: the great outdoors, the global within

    Part III: The Spaces of Consumption: Globalization

    9. The world on your plate: food in the age of globalized agri-food networks

    10. Globalization and McDonaldization: producing the global consumer

    11. Digital consumption: online retail, the social industry, and the new digital worker

    12. Enough! the ethics of consumption


    Mark Paterson is Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. Along with his interest in consumption, his research focuses on the body and the senses, particularly in relation to new technologies. He is the author of The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technologies (Routledge, 2007), Seeing with the Hands: Blindness, Vision and Touch After Descartes (2016), and How We Became Sensorimotor: Movement, Measurement, Sensation (2021), as well as numerous journal articles. He is also co-editor of Touching Place, Spacing Touch (Routledge, 2012) and is on the editorial board of the journals Emotion, Space & Society, Multimodality and Society, and The Senses and Society.

    "The third edition of Mark Paterson’s Consumption and Everyday Life offers an excellent introduction to the sociology of consumption. It is readable, interesting and well-grounded in both the everyday life of, and the academic literature on, consumption. Most of the key ideas and orientations in the field are covered in a very lively and accessible manner."

    George Ritzer, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Maryland, USA


    "Consumption is indissolubly related to everyday life, and everyday life in the global West cannot be understood without reference to consumer practices. Writing in an accessible style and with many valuable examples, Paterson’s textbook offers a broad perspective on contemporary consumer dynamics. The book helps us understand the boundaries, specificity and importance of today’s cultures of consumption with particular attention to themes such as the commodification of youth, the gendered politics of consumption, the dynamics of globalization and the digitalization of everyday life."

    Roberta Sassatelli, Professor of Sociology, University of Bologna, Italy