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Status Through Consumption: Dynamics of Consuming in Structured Environments
  • Steven D. Silver, San Jose State University
The use of goods and services in competition for social status has been the basis for an extensive historical dialogue with indications of its importance in the frameworks of several disciplines (e.g., Smith 1976 [1759], Marshall 1925 [1890], Veblen 1994 [1904], Weber 1968 [1922]). While status through consumption was well recognized in earlier social theory (e.g., Smith 1928 [1776], 1976 [1759]), twentieth-century economists and social theorists with interests in resource allocation, social structure, and consumer welfare economics had their interests piqued by the observations of the fabled excesses in status-directed consumption during the “high period” or “gilded age” which followed American industrial expansion at the turn of the century. The spectre of large-scale spending on “conspicuous consumption” by a class newly endowed with wealth in that period was without precedent in modern history and inspired its own literature in both fictional (Fitzgerald 1925) and nonfictional forms (Mason 1998).
Publication Date
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Citation Information
Steven D. Silver. Status Through Consumption: Dynamics of Consuming in Structured Environments. Norwell, MA(2002)
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