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Konsumpcja jako budowanie tożsamości
Consumption as a Tool for Identity Building

Author(s): Łukasz Iwasiński
Subject(s): Sociology
Published by: Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: identity; consumption; taste; market; expert systems

Summary/Abstract: The article analyzes the sociological narrative, which sees consumption as a tool of discovering or reflective shaping of consumer’s identity. In contemporary societies, lacking support in stable institutions, individuals experience disembeddedness, hence they are uncertain of their identities. Lack of this foundation is largely compensated by the market. Disembeddedness from the old structures and the growing role of the market does not need to result in fabricated identities, formatted by marketing – as post-Marxist oriented authors declare. On the contrary – individuals can create their identities in much more conscious way, but it requires constant choices mediated by expert systems. Discourses presented by these systems express diverse, often conflicting positions, hence the „identity market” is pluralized. Consumption does not necessarily standardize and strengthen conformity, but can serve as a tool for developing identities which challenge the dominant ideologies. The article discusses the concept of consumption developed by the School of Birmingham, positions polemical to Bourdieu’s idea of structural determination of consumption, Anthony Giddens’ model of reflective consumption, Colin Campbell’s individualistic perspective on consumption. All presented concepts argue that individuals can, in the process of consumption, actively create their own identity. In today’s world consumers receive a variety of ways of problematizing their identity and many instruments to resolve them.

  • Issue Year: 219/2015
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 159-180
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: Polish