Culture, social relations, and consumption

Authored by: Frederick F. Wherry

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138288621
eBook ISBN: 9781315267784
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315267784-34

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on both the social performance of consumption and the relational work that these performances help consumers accomplish. The chapter begins with retail shopping because consumption messages and the interactions between consumers, their loved ones, and meaningful objects become manifest in public spaces. The chapter then leaves the public for the private sphere of household consumption, where delicate negotiations unfold over the kinds of obligations parents have to children, kids have to their friends, and people in communities have to one another. The final section of the chapter enters the world of rituals, demonstrating how sacred and profane distinctions and the traditions that communities hold dear can be enacted through branded goods and through commercialized festivals.

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