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The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies by J. Michael Ryan, Daniel Thomas Cook

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Gender and Consumer Culture

EMMA CASEY

Kingston University, UK

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs130

Consumption has not traditionally been a central concern for feminist academics. Until the 1990s it was rare to find articles in feminist journals written specifically about consumption and textbooks on consumption frequently rendered gendered accounts of consumption to a few pages on “the body” or household expenditure. Indeed, it is only relatively recently that social scientists have begun to produce dedicated studies of gendered consumption practices. The wider experiences of women's lives as consumers both at home and in public life have often been overlooked in favor of accounts that have mapped the rise of consumerism alongside the unfolding of capitalist societies. While these accounts have undoubtedly been hugely influential, not least in reversing the trend for prioritizing accounts of production over those of consumption, they have also helped to bolster an academic study of consumption which has largely produced “ungendered” accounts of the consumer. In response to this dearth, feminist consumption scholars have often looked to a broad range of academic disciplines and studies – such as anthropology, history, and cultural studies – in order to make sense of the particular relevance of consumption to women's lives. Gendered accounts of consumption have also sought to advance many of the possibilities offered by classic texts and theories of consumption and in particular ...

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