Journal Article

Consumption and the Rhetorics of Need and Want

COLIN CAMPBELL

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 11, issue 3, pages 235-246
Published in print January 1998 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online January 1998 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/11.3.235
Consumption and the Rhetorics of Need and Want

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Both academic and popular discussion of consumption tend to centre around two dominant discourses or rhetorics These are those of need (satisfaction) and want (desire) These rhetorics relate to contrasting models of human action with associated ideologies The need rhetoric has its origin in a Puritan-inspired utilitarian philosophy of comfort and satisfaction, while the want or desire rhetoric has its origin in a Romantic-inspired philosophy of pleasure-seeking Although both ideologies and their associated rhetorics are institutionalized in contemporary society, it is the former that tends to have greater legitimacy This paper looks at the various relationships which it has been suggested exist between these two rhetorics in theories of consumption, examining these as they have been represented historically, bio-psychologically and sociologically Finally, material from the author's current research on shopping is used to demonstrate how these two rhetorics are related to gender roles, as well as employed by individuals to help them accomplish their consumption goals

Keywords: consumption; discourses of consumption; marketing; production; rhetorics of need and want; sociology

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

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