Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: March 15, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939645 | Print ISBN: 9781412916080 | Online ISBN: 9781412939645| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this handbook
Chapter 77: The Sociology of Consumer Behavior
JOEL I. NELSON
The sociology of consumer behavior The sociology of consumer behavior is now enjoying a renaissance of interest. In an earlier period of American sociology, particularly in the years immediately before and after World War II, consumer behavior was pretty much ignored. While consumers were mentioned in early community studies (Lynd and Lynd 1937; Warner and Lunt 1941), few articles on consumer behavior appeared in professional journals. Classical theorists were certainly not at fault; they left a rich heritage of sociological theory: Simmel ( 1957) writing on fashion, Marx ( 1990) on commodity fetishism, Weber ( 1959) on status groups, Veblen ( 1953) on conspicuous consumption. Handbooks published up through the 1980s continued to discuss traditional sociological concerns related to politics, deviant behavior, and race relations (Merton, Broom, and Cottrell 1959; Faris 1964; Smelser 1988). But consumer behavior was not mentioned at all. It is anybody's guess why consumers were ignored ...