A Social and Economic Theory of Consumption, 1st Edition by Kaj Illomen

By Kaj Illomen

Kaj Ilmonen used to be 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 passion of 'the 3rd wave' exaggerated the position of the symbolic and imaginary on the price of the materiality of human societies.

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Sample text

In this sense consumption has a productive aspect, too. This concept refers to creative consumption as discussed above, to exploring the possible range of uses that commodities can offer. This aspect of commodity thus links consumption to production and to the economic dimension of commodity. All four aspects of consumption are usually present in the same commodity, overlapping in a positive relationship with one another. As Edmund Leach (1968, 523) observes, ‘almost every human activity that takes place in culturally defined surroundings .

In the national accounts it is reflected in consumer demand, for individual citizens it is reflected in the relationship between incomes and commodity prices. However, there can be no demand for commodities unless they are perceived by consumers as objects of their needs, as use values. 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.

Of course, this is no novel discovery. indd 31 11/3/2010 1:38:35 AM A Social and Economic Theory of Consumption himself with representations of economics. These appear in a position of duplication. Not only do they reflect economic reality, but they also impact the way that the economy works (Foucault 1970, 353–354). They contribute to producing reality by influencing economic policy and business decision-making (see Smart 2003, 5). The discipline of economics and the economy are so closely related that it is ‘meaningless to distinguish between an existing reality (economy) and the analytical discourse explaining it (economics).

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