April 2007, Polity
The test they need to pass in order to acquire the social prizes they covet requires them to recast themselves as products capable of drawing attention to themselves. This subtle and pervasive transformation of consumers into commodities is the most important feature of the society of consumers. It is the hidden truth, the deepest and most closely guarded secret, of the consumer society in which we now live.
In this new book Zygmunt Bauman examines the impact of consumerist attitudes and patterns of conduct on various apparently unconnected aspects of social life politics and democracy, social divisions and stratification, communities and partnerships, identity building, the production and use of knowledge, and value preferences.
The invasion and colonization of the web of human relations by the worldviews and behavioural patterns inspired and shaped by commodity markets, and the sources of resentment, dissent and occasional resistance to the occupying forces, are the central themes of this brilliant new book by one of the worlds most original and insightful social thinkers.
Or, the most closely guarded secret of the society of consumers 1
1 Consumerism versus Consumption 25
2 Society of Consumers 52
3 Consumerist Culture 82
4 Collateral Casualties of Consumerism 117
- New book by one of the foremost social thinkers of our time
- Examines modern consumer culture in light of Bauman’s influential theories of liquid modernity and is full of contemporary examples throughout
- Written in a typically engaging style, this book illustrates the transformation of consumers themselves into commodities
- Explores the impact of consumerist attitudes and patterns of conduct on various aspects of social life - politics and democracy, social divisions and stratification, communities and partnerships, and identity building
Times Higher Education
"A masterful account and critique of consumerism and the social consequences of its ubiquity ... another worthy contribution to the urgent task of social critique amid unprecedented and unfettered consumerism."
"A timely intervention in helping sociologists think about what the sociology of consumption has achieved."
"Consuming Life provides a fiery, stimulating and sharp diagnosis, with much to tell us about where and who we are in a market-led society."
"Bauman's message calls for awakening from the slumber we are in."
Essays in Philosophy