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The Making of the Consumer: Historical and Sociological Perspectives


History, sociology and anthropology have devoted many studies to furthering the understanding of how consumers’ desires develop. They have shown interest in the ways in which consumers, their identities and their tastes are the product of specific techniques, activities and actors within societies. In this chapter we draw from historical and sociological studies, to show how market actors but also the state and civil society, as well as consumers themselves, contribute to the social making of consumers’ identities, in both the modern and contemporary periods, and in various geographical regions. These studies show the extent to which representations of the consumer are rooted in specific political or moral projects, so that consumption is determined as a social and political practice with an impact way beyond the domestic sphere. But, they also demonstrate that the construction of the consumer requires that he or she be given agency, which in return produces effects on the construction of the representation of consumers themselves.


History Sociology
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hal-01915015 , version 1 (19-07-2022)


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Marie-Emmanuelle Chessel, Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier. The Making of the Consumer: Historical and Sociological Perspectives. Olga Kravets; Pauline Maclaran; Steven Miles; Alladi Venkatesh. The Sage Handbook of Consumer Culture, SAGE Publications, pp.43 - 60, 2018, 9781473929517. ⟨hal-01915015⟩
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