© 2017


A Sociological Analysis


  • Presents a new theory for consumption

  • Develops a balanced position which intersects with postmodernist and economistic accounts

  • Contributes to current debates on sustainability and consumer culture


Part of the Consumption and Public Life book series (CUCO)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Alan Warde
    Pages 1-12
  3. The Development of the Sociology of Consumption

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 13-13
    2. Alan Warde
      Pages 15-32
  4. Consumption and Practice

  5. Consumption, Taste and Power

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 103-103
    2. Alan Warde
      Pages 127-153
  6. Consumption, Critique and Politics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 155-155
    2. Alan Warde
      Pages 157-179
    3. Alan Warde
      Pages 205-224
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 225-261

About this book


This book critically reviews recent social scientific investigations of consumption, a controversial topic with moral overtones, and of popular public interest and political and economic significance. The author explores how consumption affects personal identity and social position, developing a sociological analysis using theories of practice to account for everyday consumption, its role in the social order, and its consequences for environmental sustainability. The book offers a controversial analysis which explains consumption not in terms of the purchasing of commodities but of the organization and coordination of daily practices.

Consumption will be of interest to scholars and students of sociology, anthropology, geography, cultural studies, consumer research, business studies and social theory.


taste culture daily practices theories of practice Consumers

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of ManchesterManchesterUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Alan Warde is Professor of Sociology and Professorial Research Fellow in the Sustainable Consumption Institute at the University of Manchester, UK. His research interests include consumption, culture and food. 

Bibliographic information


“Consumption and consumers are topics held in high regard both among politically conscious activists and hard-bitten capitalists. The core of this book is an analysis of consumption of the more critical kind, suggesting that this concept may have become a Frankenstein’s monster of sorts for social sciences. … Warde’s argument unravels much more clearly. By ‘marketing’ this book as Consumption: A Sociological Analysis, he provides more than a well-devised, albeit messily written, academic prank.” (Jonas Bååth, Acta Sociologica, Vol. 61 (3), May, 2018)

“Consumption is a valuable source of information that aims to offer a fruitful and deeper-level discussion of consumption while offering practical steps to building a fairer society. Consumption: a sociological analysis is recommended to scholars, students, and policymakers whose focus may include the study of globalization, capitalism, or consumption.” (Maximiliano E. Korstanje, Journal of International and Global Studies, Vol. 10 (01), December, 2018)