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Innovation By DemandAn Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of Demand and its Role in Innovation$
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Andrew McMeekin, Mark Tomlinson, Ken Green, and Vivien Walsh

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780719062674

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719062674.001.0001

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Social mechanisms generating demand: a review and manifesto

Social mechanisms generating demand: a review and manifesto

Chapter:
(p.10) 2 Social mechanisms generating demand: a review and manifesto
Source:
Innovation By Demand
Author(s):

Alan Warde

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719062674.003.0002

This chapter reflects on the development of sociological approaches to consumption and their contribution to the explanation of consumer behaviour. Tentative and programmatic, it is concerned with defining some of the ways in which sociology might proceed in analysing consumption. It offers some record of recent developments and achievements. It is cast as a reflection on the limits of a key concept, conspicuous consumption, arguing that sociological explanations have paid too much attention to the visible and the remarkable and have therefore generalised too widely from acts of conspicuous consumption. The chapter reviews a number of mechanisms which generate ordinary and inconspicuous consumption. This permits the identification of some important and neglected inconspicuous features of final consumption. Processes examined include habituation, routinisation, normalisation, appropriation and singularisation, putative bases for understanding the dull compulsion to consume. Asserting a distinction in the ways that economists and sociologists use the concepts of demand and consumption, the chapter contributes to interdisciplinary dialogue.

Keywords:   consumption, consumer behaviour, sociology, conspicuous consumption, inconspicuous consumption, demand, habituation, routinisation, normalisation, appropriation

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