chapter  9
Consumption and Leisure
Pages 14

Until the post-war period, the pursuit of leisure activities and conspicuous consumption in the UK was largely the preserve of the upper classes because they had the time and financial resources (Cannadine 1998; Veblen 1953). The period after the Second World War heralded the era of mass consumption, and of the ‘affluent worker’ (Bocock 1999). However, since the 1980s there has been an upsurge of new forms of consumption, and particular attention paid to it during the 1990s, essentially due to intellectual and political developments within the academy as much as to the changes in consumption itself. There has been a decline in Marxist theorisations that focus on production, with economic and social geographers embracing the cultural turn within the discipline (Bryson et al. 1999: Lee and Wills 1997; see Chapter 3). In addition, the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector has declined while service sector jobs allied to consumption have grown (see Chapter 8). Over the last two decades, consumption patterns and lifestyles in the UK have become more differentiated and less easily defined by social status. Disposable income has increasingly become just as important a determinant of leisure and consumption patterns as social class and background.