305 - 307 p.
Consumption, Consumer culture, Social life
Consumption is a topic that has been deeply explored by the social sciences. One reason for this, as highlighted by editor Alejandro Néstor Garcia Martinez, lecturer at the University of Navarra, Spain, in Being Human in a Consumer Society is that consumption is at the nexus of several paradoxes. Consumption forces individuals to conform and to be distinct at the same time. It is both praised for its virtues, at the macro level, on economic growth, employment, and material welfare, and criticized for its vicious effects on individuals by fostering their selfishness and temperamental penchants. Drawn from a conference held in 2011 in Barcelona and supported by the Social Trends Institute, a nonprofit research center located in Barcelona and New York, the book is a collection of nine essays offering an interdisciplinary perspective on “some normative questions related to the good life and human flourishing in consumer societies” (p. xvii). In a short introduction, Alejandro Néstor García Martínez lists some of these questions, most of which are related to the transformations of consumer culture and the way it influences human beings in their social life. Most of the essays adopt theoretical points of view; however, some of them are more empirical and draw from field data. The … [first lines]