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Veblen, Bourdieu, and Conspicuous Consumption

Veblen, Bourdieu, and Conspicuous Consumption Andrew B. Trigg In this paper we show that to some extent these arguments misrepresent Veblen's original conception of conspicuous consumption and take it out of context in relation to his overall framework. In addition, in order to develop a contemporary response to these arguments we examine the possible contribution that can be made using the work of Pierre Bourdieu, the sociologist and anthropologist who has been described as "France's leading living social theorist" (Shusterman 1999, 1). The link between Bourdieu and Veblen has already been noted in the literature. Colin Campbell (1995, 103), for example, has described Bourdieu as "the most important contemporary theo­ rist of consumption proper" and stated that Bourdieu's main work, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (1984), "bears comparison, in character and importance, with Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class." It can be argued, however, that this relationship has not been widely recognized in the institutionalist literature. For example, the recent critical appraisal of Veblen in the collection of essays edited by Doug Brown (1998) contains no reference to Bourdieu's work. The contribution of this paper is to develop a defense and extension of the theory of conspicuous consump­ tion by http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Economic Issues Taylor & Francis

Veblen, Bourdieu, and Conspicuous Consumption

Journal of Economic Issues , Volume 35 (1): 17 – Mar 1, 2001
17 pages

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References (37)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2001 by Journal of Economic Issues–Association for Evolutionary Economics.
ISSN
1946-326X
eISSN
0021-3624
DOI
10.1080/00213624.2001.11506342
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Andrew B. Trigg In this paper we show that to some extent these arguments misrepresent Veblen's original conception of conspicuous consumption and take it out of context in relation to his overall framework. In addition, in order to develop a contemporary response to these arguments we examine the possible contribution that can be made using the work of Pierre Bourdieu, the sociologist and anthropologist who has been described as "France's leading living social theorist" (Shusterman 1999, 1). The link between Bourdieu and Veblen has already been noted in the literature. Colin Campbell (1995, 103), for example, has described Bourdieu as "the most important contemporary theo­ rist of consumption proper" and stated that Bourdieu's main work, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (1984), "bears comparison, in character and importance, with Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class." It can be argued, however, that this relationship has not been widely recognized in the institutionalist literature. For example, the recent critical appraisal of Veblen in the collection of essays edited by Doug Brown (1998) contains no reference to Bourdieu's work. The contribution of this paper is to develop a defense and extension of the theory of conspicuous consump­ tion by

Journal

Journal of Economic IssuesTaylor & Francis

Published: Mar 1, 2001

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