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Title: Becoming consumers : looking beyond wealth as an explanation for villa variability : perspectives from the East of England
Author: Martins, Christopher Barry
ISNI:       0000 0000 5390 7926
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis provides a comprehensive study of the social and psychological characteristics of modem consumer behaviour that is then used as an interpretative perspective with which to consider the evidence for a selection of villas in Roman Britain. Existing explanations for the development and aggrandizement of these country properties of the elite are contextualised and the commonly-applied hypothesis of conspicuous consumption is critiqued. A quantifiable `costing' model is introduced and consumer theories are summarised against a background of Roman archaeology. The consumer approach allows us to get closer to the decision-making of the individual and the determinants that can influence personal choice are considered. Case-studieasr e offered that rigorouslye xaminea rangeo f apparentlys tatusenhancing amenities on villas within a framework that focuses on specific consumption arguments. This process serves to question existing orthodoxies. Important and under-appreciated contexts in which social identity could be expressed were the Roman roads that passed close to villas, and this suggestion is explored. A wider outcome of the burgeoning desire to consume in elite society may have been psychological change. It is possible that ingroup values evolved from being collectivist to become more individualistic in nature, and also that the selfhood of generations of owners gradually changed over time to be characterised as less interdependent and more independent. If so, this allows the proposal to be made that villas may in future be classified additionally in terms of psychic and not just architectural structure. To help gauge the potential of such arguments the author entered into an introductory collaboration with specialists across the social sciences.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available