Fundamental Attributes of the Theory of Consumption in the Work of Jean Baudrillard, Pierre Bourdieu, and George Ritzer Cover Image

Temeljne značajke teorije potrošnje u djelima Jeana Baudrillarda, Pierrea Bourdieua i Georgea Ritzera
Fundamental Attributes of the Theory of Consumption in the Work of Jean Baudrillard, Pierre Bourdieu, and George Ritzer

Author(s): Sanja Stanić
Subject(s): Sociology of Culture, Socio-Economic Research
Published by: Hrvatsko sociološko društvo
Keywords: theory of consumption; consumption; consumer society; Baudrillard; Bourdieu; Ritzer;

Summary/Abstract: The paper presents elements of the theories of J. Baudrillard, P. Bourdieu, and G. Ritzer that are relevant for the context of the development of social thought on the phenomenon of consumption. Although the three authors held different perspectives on consumption, they shared the notion of an increasingly important role of consumption in the time and society in which they acted. In their work, consumption was analysed as a salient determinant of social life. The theories of those authors are presented here as dominant within the given periods of the development of social theory on consumption. Baudrillard recognised consumption as a new and important issue, and his criticism of the consumer society was far ahead of the time in which he wrote. In his view, consumer goods are signs and consumption is a type of language. In analogy with Marx's concept of means of production, Baudrillard proposed the concept of means of consumption as consumer sites that are a synthesis of abundance and calculation. Bourdieu constructed a class theory of consumption based on cultural practices. He considered consumer behaviour to be an expression of class position. Class is determined by its position in the system of differences or distinctions from other classes based on cultural practices, objects, and taste. In Ritzer's work, consumption becomes a powerful driving force of contemporary society, with the ultimate purpose of profit-making. He explained changes in contemporary society by the process of McDonaldization that has been increasingly spreading to various areas of social life. Transformations in the structures and interpersonal relationships in contemporary society were explained by Ritzer as a change from the old to the new means of consumption. The concluding part of the paper provides an overview of the three authors' theories in the context of consumer society, emphasising their contribution to the body of theoretical analyses of the phenomenon of consumption.

  • Issue Year: 46/2016
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 33-60
  • Page Count: 28
  • Language: Croatian