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Consumption Institutions


  • Metin Cosgel


Consumption institutions reflect socially constructed systems of rules that generate regularities in people's consumption behavior. This paper seeks to understand these institutions by using insights from recent developments in rhetorical analysis and the economics of institutions in order to develop an analogy between speech and consumption and to explore parallels between the institutions that surround them. Just as a speaker utilizes speech institutions (e.g., language, speech codes), a consumer utilizes a variety of consumption institutions (e.g., the meanings produced by specific arrangements of goods, dress codes) in making statements. Consumption institutions serve as both constraints and enablers, providing the knowledge that assist individuals to relate to each other through intersubjectively shared categories of communication. They serve a dual function by providing knowledge for the consumer to send and the audience to interpret messages.

Suggested Citation

  • Metin Cosgel, 1997. "Consumption Institutions," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(2), pages 153-171.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:55:y:1997:i:2:p:153-171
    DOI: 10.1080/00346769700000031

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