The 'new' wave of consumption across the social sciences is now in its third decade. Inspired by postmodernism, the literature has been heavily skewed, especially initially, towards a cultural turn, preoccupied with the subjectivities and identities of consumers and the meanings of the objects of consumption. With culture perceived to open up a realm of conditional freedom for the individual consumer, the role of the state has slipped into the background, if not altogether out of sight, in studying consumption. At one level, this is surprising since, in other areas, social sciences have concentrated on the role of the state, not least in its clash with the market, and in the need for 'Bringing the State Back In', Evans et al. (1985). On the other hand, by way of remarkable symbiosis with neo-liberalism, the state has often been perceived to be anti-cultural and, in this respect, anti-consumption. Inspired by the image of an army of Mao suits, or of bureaucracy stifling talent, individuality and initiative, the state is perceived to corrupt the social, the cultural and consumption, just as it putatively corrupts the market and economic efficiency. By this means, although their two virtual worlds are rarely brought together, postmodernism and neo-liberalism complement one another in their anti-statism.