• A Brain Teaser for Logophiles: Self-referring Words

    by  • March 31, 2013

    Among logicians and linguists, the statement “This is a false sentence” has become the textbook example of a self-referring paradox — a statement that can neither be proven true nor false. The key to this type of statement is that it turns our logical reasoning upside down and puts its consistency into question. Another...

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    The struggle for pecuniary reputability

    by  • July 11, 2012

    Theorising the struggle for social recognition can be approached from numerous angles. One – rather cynical – account has been given by the nineteenth-century Norwegian-American economist Thorstein Veblen. In his view, the struggle for social standing is carried out in a specific area of communication which is antagonistic in nature. Central to his work...

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    Spheres of consumption

    by  • June 29, 2012

    Contemporary consumption patterns are characterised by a permanent increase in private and public commodification. These processes usually take place in spheres of exchange in which goods become commodified, decommodified, recommodified or sacralised. Some objects may be consumed and then removed from the sphere of exchange (either permanently or temporarily). In a society which is...

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    Use-value, exchange-value and symbolic-value

    by  • June 16, 2012

    In the sociology of consumption much emphasis has been directed towards the exchange-value of commodities. In contrast to use-value, the exchange-value of a commodity is based on equivalences which unfold when a product enters the market (commodification). In a capitalist system any object X can be made equivalent to a certain proportion of any...

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    Defining a consumerist society

    by  • May 23, 2012

    The literature offers numerous definitions of consumerism. However, one of the most comprehensive definitions of modern consumerism has most likely been provided along the following lines: “Consumerism describes a society in which many people formulate their goals in life partly through acquiring goods that they clearly do not need for subsistence or for traditional...

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