The Conspicious Body: Capitalism, Consumerism, Class and Consumption

in Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Abstract

A little over a century ago, Thorstein Veblen introduced us to the now commonplace term "conspicuous consumption": the idea that we consume, at least in part, in order to display to others our social power. While the conceptual utility of this term is just as valid today as it was the day Veblen penned it, further elaboration is now required to account for shifting cultural and economic imperatives. In this paper, I argue that we are entering a new era of conspicuous consumption; an era where surrounding oneself with "nice things" is becoming increasingly insufficient for our modern sensibilities in our quest to display status and power. Rather, we are progressively striving to become the "nice thing" itself—to literally embody conspicuous consumption. I locate this conspicuous body within evolving historical tensions of consumer capitalism; tensions which the conspicuous body attempts to resolve (but not without social, cultural, and ecological consequences). This paper also represents an attempt to introduce into the socio-environmental literature the body as a legitimate topic of inquiry. While the body has recently experienced an increase in attention by some social and cultural scholars, such interest has been lost among most environmental sociologists; a surprising point, particularly given the fact that through the body, self and the environment become embodied.

The Conspicious Body: Capitalism, Consumerism, Class and Consumption

in Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Sections

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 273 271 21
Full Text Views 233 233 9
PDF Downloads 129 129 16
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0