Why Veblen Matters: The Role of Status Seeking in Contemporary Leisure

  • David Scott


Over 100 years ago, Thorstein Veblen (1934) published The Theory of the Leisure Class (TLC). A scathing attack on the avaricious leisure class of his day, TLC described how people used wealth to elevate their social position in society. Importantly, the book illuminated how people across all social strata use wealth and goods to bolster their social position relative to their neighbors and peers. TLC remains a classic and is used by sociologists, economists, and other scholars to explain patterns of fashion, female subordination, economic inequality, and environmental degradation. My goal in this chapter is to explain some of Veblen’s key ideas and then illustrate how they might shed light into present-day leisure and consumption.


Conspicuous leisure Conspicuous consumption Status seeking Emulation Wealth Leisure class 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Scott
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism SciencesTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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