Consumer Culture: History, Theory and Politics

Article excerpt

Consumer Culture: History, Theory and Politics Roberta Sassatelli, London: Sage, 2007.

As readers of the Journal of American Culture (JAC) have seen in its March 2007 special issue on consumer culture, scholarly work on this topic has exploded since 2000 with such milestones as a new academic journal launched in 2001 (the Journal of Consumer Culture) and the first international conference on consumer culture theory held in 2006 at the University of Notre Dame.

As the editor of the special JAC issue on consumer culture, this writer noted two new foci in the post-2000 scholarly literature. The first is interdisciplinary while the second is international. While the Notre Dame conference was a major step in the international direction, yet another is this new book by political sociology professor Roberta Sassatelli at the University of Milan. In just 237 pages Sassatelli has written an impressive survey of an extraordinarily large and varied literature focusing primarily on developments in Europe and North America.

And it is the vast compendium of research studies on consumer practices on these two continents carrying us through the present that makes this book so significant. Moreover, to make its contents accessible to students as well as professionals, it is written as a textbook with eight chapters, each of which is followed by a concise summary. Also helpful to readers is an insightful epilogue followed by a concluding section providing the author's recommendations of additional reading for students of consumer culture. …