Symbolic consumption and the social construction of product characteristics
AbstractAs recognized since long, consumption serving to signal social status, group membership, or self-esteem is a socially contingent activity. The corresponding expenditures are motivated mainly by the symbolic value they have for transmitting the signal. However, this presupposes some form of social coordination on what are valid, approved symbols. Unlike consumption not serving signaling purposes, the technological characteristics of the goods and services consumed may be secondary--what counts is their socially agreed capacity to function as a symbol. The paper discusses in detail the cognitive underpinnings of social agreement on consumption symbols and a model of their spontaneous emergence.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Structural Change and Economic Dynamics.
Volume (Year): 21 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/525148
Consumer motivation Symbolic consumption Status consumption Conspicuous consumption;
Other versions of this item:
- Ulrich Witt, 2008. "Symbolic Consumption and the Social Construction of Product Characteristics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2008-15, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bernard Bourgeois & Phuong Nguyen & Pier-Paolo Saviotti & Michel Trommetter, 2005.
"Variety and the evolution of refinery processing,"
- Paul Windrum, 2005. "Heterogeneous preferences and new innovation cycles in mature industries: the amateur camera industry 1955--1974," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(6), pages 1043-1074, December.
- Saviotti, P. P. & Metcalfe, J. S., 1984. "A theoretical approach to the construction of technological output indicators," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 141-151, June.
- Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst & Nikolai Roussanov, 2009.
"Conspicuous Consumption and Race,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 425-467, May.
- Pier Paolo Saviotti, 2001. "special issue: Variety, growth and demand," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 119-142.
- Sugden, Robert, 1989. "Spontaneous Order," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 85-97, Fall.
- Radner, Roy & Rothschild, Michael, 1975. "On the allocation of effort," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 358-376, June.
- Veblen, Thorstein, 1899. "The Theory of the Leisure Class," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number veblen1899.
- Wolfhard Kaus, 2012. "Beyond Engel s Law - Pursuing an Engelian Approach to Welfare A Cross Country Analysis," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-028, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
- John M. Gowdy & Denise E. Dollimore & David Sloan Wilson & Ulrich Witt, 2012.
"Economic Cosmology and the Evolutionary Challenge,"
Papers on Economics and Evolution
2012-12, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wendy Shamier).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.