In the modern world, it has become a cliche to suggest that we inhabit, are even victims of, a 'consumer society'; that 'consumerism'' is rampant; that we are dominated by 'consumer culture', having passed through a 'consumer revolution'. Such a focus on the consumption associated with affluence is remarkably blinkered, not only for its neglect of those who live on the margins in advanced capitalist economies, but also more strikingly for those in the Third World for whom consumption remains a matter of life or death - whether through starvation, disease or homelessness. No doubt, it is the general relief from such hardship in the developed world, some would say at the expense of the Third World, and also the recent historical origins of such affluence, that renders possible a preoccupation with levels and patterns of popular consumption beyond the mere minimum.