Conspicuous consumption : a study of exceptional consumer behaviour
The thesis offers a detailed study of that part of consumer behaviour which is status-directed and which encourages individuals to purchase and consume products not for their intrinsic value (i.e. their value in use) but for their extrinsic (i.e. prestige) value. The work is in two parts. Part One (7 Chapters) explores the nature of conspicuous consumption and seeks to explain why and under what conditions such exceptional behaviour occurs. The treatment of conspicuous consumption in economic and social thought is examined and evaluated (Cn.l) and Chapter 2 proposes a theoretical explanation of the propensity to conspicuously consumer. Chapter 3 develops a research methodology appropriate to the theory. Chapters 4, 5 and 6, then comprise a study of conspicuous consumption as observed in traditional, achieving and affluent societies, while Chapter 7 draws these studies together in perspective. Part 2 (3 Chapters) focuses more specifically on conspicuous consumption in the modern, affluent society and seeks to develop a theoretical model of consumer decision processes relating to such behaviour. Chapter 8 is concerned with evaluating the treatment of conspicuous consumption within behavioural theories of consumer demand. Chapter 9 complements Chapter 8 in assessing the contribution of economics and of economic demand theories to the subject. Drawing on Chapters 8 and 9, Chapter 10 then proposes a theoretical model of consumer decision processes with respect to conspicuous consumption in the modern, industrialised society.