Read e-book online A Social and Economic Theory of Consumption PDF

By Kaj Illomen

ISBN-10: 0230244106

ISBN-13: 9780230244108

Kaj Ilmonen was once a pioneer within the 3rd wave of the sociology of intake. This book provides a balanced assessment of the sociology of intake, arguing that the keenness of 'the 3rd wave' exaggerated the function of the symbolic and imaginary on the fee of the materiality of human societies.

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Extra info for A Social and Economic Theory of Consumption

Sample text

The commodity gradually loses its use value and moves outside the realm of consumption. But before that, the commodity has served a purpose. It has been used as a tool to do something, to bring about some state of affairs. A personal computer has been used to write a text, an axe to chop wood, flowers to create a pleasing arrangement. Commodities have thus been instrumentalized in consumption and used to achieve something over and above what is reflected in the technical/functional and symbolic dimensions of consumption.

The use value of a commodity, whether real or imaginary, can only be harnessed to the consumer’s purposes after exchange has taken place. It follows that use value is not an economic category in the first place, but it attaches consumption to civil society – its everyday activities and varied social microspace. Consumption represents the point of intersection between the economy and everyday life. Consumers put a commodity to use when they have picked it up and put it in their shopping bag. This can mean many different things depending on whether the main emphasis is on the use of the technical or symbolic properties of the commodity.

Take a Stradivarius. indd 37 11/3/2010 1:38:39 AM A Social and Economic Theory of Consumption the most expert violonists, is used to push the boundaries of violin playing. When the main weight of emphasis is on the positive extremes of all dimensions of the commodity, the commodity in question is usually a luxury item, something that is effectively ‘timeless’. However, the different aspects of consumption may also diverge in the same commodity, stand in a negative relationship to one another and thus create a contradictory commodity.

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A Social and Economic Theory of Consumption by Kaj Illomen


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