Journal of Consumer Research
University of Chicago Press
Vigorous consumption is the sign of a prosperous and confident society. Some critics, however, find a high level of consumption morally objectionable. To see what is valid in these objections, one needs to understand the connection between consumption and the characteristic pattern of technology that is highlighted by the device paradigm and gives rise to paradigmatic consumption. Such consumption induces disengagement from reality and a decline of excellence. The response to these debilities is to accept paradigmatic consumption in some areas of life and to make room for focal things and practices in others. Research is needed to determine the social reality, and to probe the common awareness, of paradigmatic consumption and focal practices.