Governance of Consumption

  • Gary Wickham


Consumption is not an obvious object of sociological study. It is my contention that consumption is only available to sociology as an object of governance. I suggest that the tendency to understand consumption as a general ‘other’ to production is extremely misleading. This tendency is quite widespread, affecting everyday talk and social scientific work, especially Marxist accounts. In this chapter I propose a framework for understanding consumption as an object of governance. In doing this I first detail my understanding of governance, an understanding which relies on work by Foucault and by Durkheim. In the second section I define consumption as an object of governance. In the third and final section, I outline the concerns of a sociology of the governance of consumption.


Late Twentieth Century Consumer Society Harvester Wheatsheaf Everyday Talk Social Scientific Work 
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Copyright information

© Pekka Sulkunen, John Holmwood, Hilary Radner and Gerhard Schulze 1997

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  • Gary Wickham

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