Full Text


Jeremy Schulz

Subject Sociology » Consumption, Environmental Sociology

People Baudrillard, Jean

Key-Topics capitalism, commodity, consumerism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Social critics and social scientists, on observing the transformations of American and Western European societies throughout the twentieth century, have relied on terms such as “overconsumption,” “consumptionism,” “new consumerism,” and “hyperconsumption” to convey the increasingly central role played by the acquisition and consumption of goods and services in the lives of individuals, the shaping of cultural forms, and the dynamics of social organization. This family of terms has a long history in the American context, where “consumptionism” entered the popular lexicon in a 1924 article by journalist Samuel Strauss. Like many other social critics of his time, Strauss sought to expose the ethical bankruptcy of a society in which a concern for the standard of living dominated all other aspects of national and individual welfare. Decades later, in The Affluent Society (1958), the economist John Kenneth Galbraith savaged the “overconsumption” fueled by the growth of mass markets and American merchandisers' insatiable appetites for huge sales volumes. The term “overconsumption” also figured prominently in the critiques of the American lifestyle formulated by social critics and social scientists during the 1970s and early 1980s. Moving beyond earlier critiques, these treatments took aim not only at the ethical consequences of overconsumption, but at the effects of consumption-oriented ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top