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Consumer Society and the Postmodern City by David B Clarke

By David B Clarke

The truth that we inhabit a client society has exceptionally far-reaching implications. operating throughout the frequently arguable principles of the shopper society's such a lot influential theorists, Jean Baudrillard and Zygmunt Bauman, this booklet assesses the ways that consumerism is reshaping the character and that means of town. It examines the character of intake and its expanding centrality to post-modern society by;*considering the advance of consumerism as a imperative part of social life*demonstrating that social inequalities are more and more based round consumption*uncovering the hidden outcomes of consumerism*pondering the that means of lifestyle*revealing how the character of fact is altering in an age of globalization.Employing a sustained and fascinating theoretical research, the e-book levels throughout a number of occasionally unforeseen subject matters. It represents an impassioned plea for everybody attracted to the social lifetime of towns to take the idea of the shopper society - and the arguments of its significant theorists - heavily.

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They can only be effectively targeted, however, on the basis of a more adequate grasp of what his account of consumption actually entails. To achieve this will require an engagement with a formidable range of social theorists: Mauss, Bataille, Veblen, and Saussure. The remainder of this chapter traces some key elements of their thought – with an eye towards the inadequacies of their respective formulations, which Baudrillard attempts to overcome in his account of consumption. Exchange: gift and commodity Exchange is not a complex edifice built on the obligations of giving, receiving and returning, with the help of some emotional-mystical cement.

Here, we have reached the point where the limitations of Mauss’ analysis cannot forego further scrutiny. They become apparent if we 38 Consumption consider the reasoning behind Baudrillard’s deployment of the term ‘symbolic exchange’. In essence, Baudrillard (1981, 64, 65n) insists that the structure of symbolic exchange, ‘of which the gift is our most proximate illustration’, ‘is never that of simple reciprocity’. Mauss recognized the extent to which a relation is constitutive of the relata it brings into being.

Failed consumers, however, like failed gamblers, can expect no mercy: they have been given their chance, even if the odds were stacked against them. ’ – maintains the foreboding threat of coercion: ‘Imagine, putting pleasure in the imperative like that’ (Calle 1999, 246). But if the threat is ‘once removed’ for some, those who fail to live up to the pleasurable role they have been assigned can expect to experience that threat in the most direct of senses. It is no accident that the demonization of certain excluded groups, together with an increasingly uncharitable attitude to the ‘unde- Consumption controversies 23 serving poor’, proceeds apace with the development of a society that engages its members primarily in their capacity as consumers (Bauman 1998a).

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