Being Human in a Consumer Society
Barcelona, Spain | March 31-April 2, 2011
In this meeting, STI aimed to uncover some of the paradoxes of consumer culture, to examine structuralist and phenomenological approaches to the consumer paradigm and critique their effectiveness in analyzing engagement in consumer culture, and to develop a framework for describing the risks that consumer societies pose to authentic human development. By inviting sociologists, philosophers, and business educators and professionals, STI took account of the diverse interests inherent in this debate to encourage a broad consensus on the largest question herein: how to authentically seek the “good life” in the modern world. Principal Inquiries:
• What significant cultural or structural transformations can be identified in consumer society, in comparison to earlier societies?
• In dealing with consumption, what is the relation between individual motivations and structural constraints? How can these two concepts be linked in order to understand consumer society and its dynamics?
• What processes and tendencies have been –and still are– relevant for the consolidation of a culture of consumption? How does consumption culture affect our understanding of the nature of human beings and praxis?
• To what extent does the culture of consumption spread to other social spheres, affecting social relationships? What are the limits, if any, of this extension?
• In what ways can a culture of consumption lead to isolation, individualization or commodification of human beings?
- University of VirginiaReflections on the Cultural Commons
- University of YorkShould We Blame it on the Joneses? Conspicuous Consumption and the Threat to Sustainability Pablo Garcia Ruiz
- University of ZaragozaThe Two Faces of Consumerism: When Things Make Us (in)HumanStjepan Mestrovic
- Texas A&M UniversityPost-emotional Law in Consumer SocietyAllison Pugh
- University of VirginiaThe Planned Obsolescence of Other People: Consumer Culture, Insecurity and ConnectionGeorge Ritzer
- University of MarylandThe Dehumanized Consumer: Does the Prosumer Offer Some Hope?Roberta Sassatelli
- University of MilanConsumers, Bodies and Selves. Framing Humanity ConsumerwiseEfrat Tseëlon
- University of LeedsThe Challenge of Ethical FashionDiscussants: Karin Ekström
- University of Boras Alejandro Garcia
- University of Navarra Melissa Moschella
- Princeton University Lucia Ruggerone
- Università della Valle d'AostaJoshua Yates
- Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture/University of Virginia Moderator:Ann Brach
- National Academy of Sciences Academic Leader:Ana Marta González
- University of NavarraOpening Remarks: Being Human in a Consumer Society
Read Professor González' opening remarks
Read the abstracts
of the presented papers.