Item Details

Social Opulence and Private Restraint [electronic resource]: The Consumer in British Socialist Thought Since 1800

Noel Thompson
Format
EBook; Book; Online
Published
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2015.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Variant Title
Consumer in British socialist thought since 1800
ISBN
9780199646012, 0199646015
Summary
'Social opulence and private restraint' is a study of the place of the consumer and consumption in the political economy of British socialism, from its early-nineteenth-century origins, through 'New Times' Marxism, to consumer-focused New Labourism and political economies critical of consumerism that can be found in the late-twentieth and early-twenty-first-century Left. Noel Thompson identifies and explicates recurrent themes which cross the boundaries of the conventional periodisation of the history of British socialist thought; themes which illustrate the sustained nature of the multifaceted ideological challenge presented by the accommodation of the consumer within socialist political economy. This challenge necessitates an engagement with the character and priorities of a future socialist society. As such it touched on some of the key issues which socialists have confronted in pursuit of their vision of a good society: issues with a strong contemporary relevance such as the desirability of private as against social opulence; the relationship between consumption and happiness; the need to educate and/or to liberate desire; and, in particular, the environmental and social consequences of rising levels of consumer expectation and consumption. The study also throws light on how the disparate ways in which these issues were addressed reflected and shaped the socialist political economies that emerged in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, while also engendering tensions between them.
Contents
  • On the cusp of abundance
  • Socialist political economy and the growth of mass consumption, 1880-1914
  • 'Punished by the attainment of their desires' : social democratic conceptions of consumption and the consumer in inter-war Britain
  • Conceptualizing the consumer in an age of affluence
  • Social democracy and the apotheosis of the consumer
  • Gathering the fragments : critiquing the new consumerism
  • Retrospect and prospect.
Description
Mode of access: World wide Web.
Notes
Includes bibliographical references (pages 213-234) and index.
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Technical Details

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