Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are. With its wry portrayal of a shallow, materialistic 'leisure class' obsessed by clothes, cars, consumer goods and climbing the social ladder, this withering satire on modern capitalism is as pertinent today as when it was written over a century ago.
From early department stores in Cape Town to gendered histories of sartorial success in urban Togo, contestations over expense accounts at an apartheid state enterprise, elite wealth and political corruption in Angola and Zambia, the role of popular religion in the political intransigence of Jacob Zuma, funerals of big men in Cameroon, youth cultures of consumption in Niger and South Africa, queer consumption in Cape Town, middle-class food consumption in Durban and the consumption of luxury handcrafted beads, this collection of essays explores the ways in which conspicuous consumption is foregrounded in various African contexts and historical moments. The essays in Conspicuous Consumption in Africa put Thorstein Veblen’s concept under robust critical scrutiny, delving into the pleasures, stresses and challenges of consuming in its religious, generational, gendered and racialised aspects, revealing conspicuous consumption as a layered set of practices, textures and relations. This volume shows how central and revealing conspicuous consumption can be to fathoming the history of Africa’s projects of modernity, and their global lineages and legacies. In its grounded, up-close case studies, it is likely to feed into current public debates on the nature and future of African societies – South African society in particular.
A feature of the new consumer societies which has emerged in more recent years has been the growing economic and social importance of conspicuous consumption. Status-directed consumer demand, stimulated and promoted by the supply of products and services marketed as symbols of social identity and style, now represents a significant part of overall economic and commercial activity. Once regarded as a form of consumer behaviour associated only with the rich and privileged, conspicuous consumption is today a worldwide phenomenon, easily observed at all social and economic levels and a major determinant of the nature and direction of consumer demand. The origins of modern-day conspicuous consumption can be traced to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to a time when the first consumer societies were being established. As these new markets emerged, so economics struggled to come to terms with a form of socially-inspired consumer behaviour with which it felt instinctively uneasy. Roger Mason traces the development of economic theory and thought since 1700 in its attempts to accommodate a new economics of conspicuous consumption. This enlightening book will be of much interest to scholars, researchers and students of consumer behaviour in economic theory, and will also be welcomed by those in the disciplines of sociology, psychology and business studies.
The study considers the different forms of conspicuous consumption displayed within Roman domestic spaces, with particular focus on the House of the Faun in Pompeii. Sumptuary laws aimed at women were used to identify how women displayed conspicuous consumption, which is used to identify the domestic display of conspicuous consumption from early second century BCE until 79 CE when Pompeii was destroyed. The house and the woman were equated because both are extensions of the paterfamilias. Thus, by firstly indicating that women in fact displayed conspicuous consumption and by utilising sumptuary laws, it is possible to demonstrate that conspicuous consumption was displayed in the domus even though no sumptuary laws existed aimed at the domus. The structure of the house is analysed as if it were womenaÌ22́Ơ4́Øs clothing and parameters for the basic layout of the house are established to indicate how those displaying conspicuous consumption deviated from the basic plan. In addition, parameters are similarly determined to analyse wall and floor art, furniture and sculptures, gardens, and water features that determine how conspicuous consumption was displayed in the House of the Faun. The concept of conspicuous consumption has to be understood as well as the socioeconomic circumstances under which it manifested during the Republic. The next key concept is Roman women and how they were a vehicle for conspicuous display in the private and public sphere. An analogy is created that equates the woman to the house in order to identify certain forms of conspicuous consumption. After identifying the ways women displayed status, the display of status in the domus is discussed from the outside inward, in other words, from the architectural structure moving inward to art, gardens and movable features.
Explaining conspicuous consumption in international relations -- Status symbols and luxury goods in international relations -- The aircraft carrier club -- A contest of beneficence: prosociality in international relations -- Big science and the transits of Venus: the first race to space -- Conclusions: living in a Veblenian world
This volume includes the full proceedings from the 2016 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference held in Orlando, Florida, entitled Creating Marketing Magic and Innovative Future Marketing Trends. The marketing environment continues to be dynamic. As a result, researchers need to adapt to the ever-changing scene. Several macro-level factors continue to play influential roles in changing consumer lifestyles and business practices. Key factors among these include the increasing use of technology and automation, while juxtaposed by nostalgia and “back to the roots” marketing trends. At the same time, though, as marketing scholars, we are able to access emerging technology with greater ease, to undertake more rigorous research practices. The papers presented in this volume aim to address these issues by providing the most current research from various areas of marketing research, such as consumer behavior, marketing strategy, marketing theory, services marketing, advertising, branding, and many more. Founded in 1971, the Academy of Marketing Science is an international organization dedicated to promoting timely explorations of phenomena related to the science of marketing in theory, research, and practice. Among its services to members and the community at large, the Academy offers conferences, congresses, and symposia that attract delegates from around the world. Presentations from these events are published in this Proceedings series, which offers a comprehensive archive of volumes reflecting the evolution of the field. Volumes deliver cutting-edge research and insights, complementing the Academy’s flagship journals, the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (JAMS) and AMS Review. Volumes are edited by leading scholars and practitioners across a wide range of subject areas in marketing science.
The prospects for a rapid expansion of the global luxury market in the next future have encouraged a proliferation of studies on consumer behavior around luxury consumption. In particular, a group of academics has investigated the relation between luxury purchases and conspicuousness, meaning the ability to signal desired identities by displaying expensive goods. This study aims at better understanding the nature of this connection through a cross-national comparison of elite consumers' preferences for luxury consumption in countries with different levels of income inequality. Different hypotheses were formulated on the possibility that income inequality, either objective or perceived, influences consumer preferences on the conspicuousness of luxury purchases. The investigation was based on the responses collected from qualified online survey takers in five different countries. The results of the study highlight a positive relation between the preferences of the elites for conspicuous luxury and objective income inequality of the country, estimated by the Gini coefficient. Significant differences in consumer preferences could only be identified between countries with large dissimilarities in terms of level of societal inequality. On the other hand, the study finds that perception of income inequality cannot justify differences in consumer preferences for conspicuousness of luxury purchases. The findings should support luxury brands on how to better calibrate their international strategies that define product offer, retail spaces, advertising, and marketing campaigns.
Using nationally representative data on consumption, we show that Blacks and Hispanics devote larger shares of their expenditure bundles to visible goods (clothing, jewelry, and cars) than do comparable Whites. We demonstrate that these differences exist among virtually all sub-populations, that they are relatively constant over time, and that they are economically large. While racial differences in utility preference parameters might account for a portion of these consumption differences, we emphasize instead a model of status seeking in which conspicuous consumption is used to reflect a household's economic position relative to a reference group. Using merged data on race and state level income, we demonstrate that a key prediction of our model -- that visible consumption should be declining in mean reference group income -- is strongly borne out in the data separately for each racial group. Moreover, we show that accounting for differences in reference group income characteristics explains most of the racial difference in visible consumption. We conclude with an assessment of the role of conspicuous consumption in explaining lower spending by racial minorities on items likes health and education, as well as their lower rates of wealth accumulation.