Consumption as a Social Process
This article discusses consumption as a social process that is part of social provisioning and is in an evolutionary interplay with other social processes. The analysis provides grounds for a context-specific research that explores consumption in the context of a culture-nature life process, and draws on material from various disciplines. The article seeks to contribute to the literature on social provisioning as an organizing concept in heterodox economics. The first section explains what is meant by social process and delineates its elements. The second section formulates a categorization of social processes, and locates a consumption process within a system of culture-nature life processes. The rest of the article delineates the elements of the consumption process, providing illustrations based on literature from various disciplines. Specifically, the third section discusses consumption activities. The fourth section discusses institutions and systems of provision of goods and services. The fifth section applies the concept of habits of life and thought to the consumption process. Finally, the article concludes that the formulated analysis transcends dualisms such as social-economic, cultural-material, society-nature, and micro-macro, and draws implications for heterodox economics.
(2014). Consumption as a Social Process. Journal of Economic Issues, 48 (3), 663-79.