• Defining a consumerist society

    by  • May 23, 2012 • Consumerism History

    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 display. They become enmeshed in the process of acquisition — shopping — and take some of their identity from a [possession] of new items that they buy and exhibit.” (Stearns 2006:viii)

    An important feature of such a (consumerist) society are institutions that encourage and serve consumerism. The process of consumption includes both, the development of new needs and goals from the consumer side and the development of the consumer apparatus (stores, promotions).


    Philipp Babcicky is a PhD student at the Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change at the University of Graz, Austria.