The World of Consumption: The Material and Cultural Revisited, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

The World of Consumption

The Material and Cultural Revisited, 2nd Edition

By Ben Fine


328 pages

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pub: 2002-03-21
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Consumption has become one of the leading topics across the social sciences and vocational disciplines such as marketing and business studies. In this comprehensively updated and revised new edition, traditional approaches as well as the most recent literature are fully addressed and incorporated, with wide reference to theoretical and empirical work. Fine's refreshing and authoritative text includes a critical examination of such themes as:

* economics imperialism and globalization

* the world of commodities

* systems of provision and culture

* the consumer society

* public consumption.

This book presents an updated analysis of the cluttered landscape of studies of consumption that will make it required reading for students from a wide range of backgrounds including political economy, history and social science courses generally.


'The standard work for students and scholars of consumption for years to come' - David F. Ruccio, University of Notre Dame, USA

'This remarkable book provides a bridge between materialist and cultural analyses of campitalism. In readily digestible prose, the author synthesizes material on the causes and consequences of consumption from Baudrillard and Marx, on the one hand, to neoclassical economic theory on the other. What results is that rare thing - an essential book for all interested in the social sciences.' - Gary Dimski, Professor of Economics, University of California, Riverside, USA

'Here is an essential book which is confidently interdisciplinary, drawing on diverse currents within the social sciences and developing a rich understanding of the subject.' - Frank Sitwell, Professor of Political Economy, University of Sydney, Australia

Table of Contents

Preface 1. Introduction and Overview 2. From Economics Imperialism to Globalization 3. The World of Commodities 4. Use Value and Consumption 5. Consumption through Systems of Provision 6. Systems of Provision and Cultural Systems 7. Economics and Consumption 8. What is Consumer Society? 9. Whatever Happened to Public Consumption? 10 Welfarism in Light of Globalization 11. Whither Consumption Studies?

About the Author

Ben Fine is Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Economic Policy for Southern Africa, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is the author of several books for Routledge, including Social Capital Versus Social Theory (2000).

About the Series

Economics as Social Theory

Social Theory is experiencing something of a revival within economics. Critical analyses of the particular nature of the subject matter of social studies and of the types of method, categories and modes of explanation that can legitimately be endorsed for the scientific study of social objects, are re-emerging. Economists are again addressing such issues as the relationship between agency and structure, between economy and the rest of society, and between the enquirer and the object of enquiry. There is a renewed interest in elaborating basic categories such as causation, competition, culture, discrimination, evolution, money, need, order, organization, power probability, process, rationality, technology, time, truth, uncertainty, value etc.

The objective for this series is to facilitate this revival further. In contemporary economics the label “theory” has been appropriated by a group that confines itself to largely asocial, ahistorical, mathematical “modelling”. Economics as Social Theory thus reclaims the “Theory” label, offering a platform for alternative rigorous, but broader and more critical conceptions of theorizing.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / Theory