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January 2022

The cultural capital of consumption: Understanding 'postmodern' identities in a cultural context

Journal/Book: Cult Psychol. 1996; 2: 6 Bonhill Street, London, England EC2A 4PU. Sage Publications Ltd. 139-158.

Abstract: Arguing that psychology has failed to come to terms with the cultural context within which identities are established, this paper focuses on consumption as a means of identity formation in a 'postmodern' culture. It is suggested that the impact of consumption upon contemporary identities might be better understood by focusing upon thf meanings with which young consumers endow consumer goods. In particular, data obtained through a participant observation in a sports shop in a northern English town are used to illustrate some of the misunderstandings that have arisen as a result of conceptualizations of the fragility of postmodern identities. The importance of applying theoretical insights (e.g. Bourdieu, Simmel) alongside innovative methodologies is therefore stressed.

Note: Article S Miles, Univ Glasgow, Dept Sociol, Adam Smith Bldg, Glasgow G12 8RT, Lanark, Scotland

Keyword(s): consumption; culture; identity; postmodernism; IMPACT

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