Initially, the literature on consumption grew on the basis of applying existing theories and concepts to a previously neglected topic. For sociologists, it was a matter of distinction and emulation and, for postmodernists, meaning and identity. Each discipline within the social sciences could interpret consumption from its own traditional, 'horizontal' perspective by theme and theory. More recently, the literature has become more circumspect, seeking greater analytical depth in rooting out the sources and meanings of consumption. It has necessarily involved more abstract and distant considerations, those that in the first instance seem far removed from consumption itself. In particular, questions are raised over the relationship between the material and the cultural, the social and the economic, the private and the public, the micro and the macro, and so on. Consumption is used to interrogate such issues as well as to shed light upon them. Further, if consumption is differentiated by class, gender, glocalisation or whatever, these too become of significance in their own right, and a matter for reassessment, as part of the study of consumption. By the same token, there has also been renewed interest in the nature of the commodity and of money as these are essential for contemporary access to consumption. This chapter seeks to clarify some of the analytical confusion that surrounds much of this latter literature. It does so by drawing the conclusion in the fourth section that capitalist commodity production is an appropriate starting point for examining modern consumption, even where such consumption does not itself necessarily depend directly upon (capitalist) commodity production.