The sociology of consumption has concentrated unduly on the more spectacular and visual aspects of contemporary consumer behaviour, thereby constructing an unbalanced and misleading view. This collection emphasises ordinary rather than extraordinary items, routine and repetitive behaviour rather than conscious decision-making. It studies practical contexts of use rather than decisions to purchase and analyses collective identification rather than personal identity. Each essay argues one or more of these points, for the most part using new empirical material from several different national contexts.
The topics analysed include shopping in Taiwan, second-home ownership in France, environmental considerations concerning food choice in Denmark, the take up of new domestic technologies in Finland and kitchen design in England. Key concepts like tradition, routine and habit are clarified and new conceptual distinctions are made, with the book defending theoretical approaches deriving from Simmel, Weber, Durkheim and Bourdieu.
Ordinary Consumption promotes a distinctive approach to the understanding of the central practices of consumer society, it is a book with a controversial message, one which will be a source of debate about the appropriate agenda for future research.