Sociologies Pratiques 20, avril 2010

Sociologies Pratiques 20, avril 2010

La consommation (tout) contre la société ?


Disruptions relinquishments and shifts on consumption. An ethnological approach to new practices of exchange.
Emmanuelle LALLEMENT
The author, by having regard for research that has been conducted on urban'gleaners’, develops two hypotheses. On the one hand, today’s consumption cannot be considered without taking account of the desire by many consumers to regain control of their consumption. On the other hand, this reappropriation of consumption cannot systematically lead to its stopping purely and simply, but rather to consumption « arrangements » that enable the creation of expert discourse on consumption itself. Ultimately, this article puts forward a strand of thinking according to which there exist « classic » systems of exchange, beyond consumption, that are currently being reappraised and transformed by the relevant actors.

Boycott and Buycott in Europe. Ecocitizenship and liberal culture.
After reaching a more detailed definition of the notions of « boycott » and « buycott »+, and specifying the method and field of inquiry, the author is at first keen to demonstrate that « buycott » and « boycott » are types of political participation which fall within the remit of cultural liberalism. He then points up the origins of these practices and emphasises their links with a political culture of free individual action. The latter, inherited from Protestantism and comprising a strong social capital, has shown itself to be especially prevalent in Northern countries and thereafter in Western European countries.

Online purchasing. A new way to relate consuming space.
Frédéric de CONINCK
The growth of online purchasing has created the image of a complete upheaval in relation to time and space. We can buy what we want, where we want, when we want. Using as our basis a qualitative investigation comprising a representative sample of consumers, we note that contrary to the outward appearance of perfect flexibility, there emerges a very elaborate model. As with any new practice, online purchasing supposes some sort of learning and this has proven to be incremental. In consequence we need to focus more on the progressive development than on the setbacks.

Internet sources informations consumption and its effects on the relationship between familycaregivers and medical doctors. The case of familycaregivers attending parents suffering from heavy medical pathologies.
While each of us recognizes that health has become more and more vulnerable to a multi-faceted consumerist logic, a new practice is emerging: the search for medical information on the net. But can we rely on the use of the term’consumption’ in the analysis of these habits? How have these habits been viewed by the medical profession? Our investigation fits in with a multidisciplinary action-research approach (sociology, psychology, discourse analysis, IT, etc.) and one of its aims is to design a platform to help those afflicted by serious illness.

Do the Black Diamonds really exist ? The media consumption and the Black middle class in South
Africa.Sophie CHEVALIER
In a post-apartheid South Africa, the emergence of a black middle class can be considered from the standpoint of two criteria: the proportion of the group who have left the townships and the group’s access to a consumption which had previously been the reserve of the white population. The specific term « Black Diamonds » has been « invented » to refer to the members of this new group. This article, which is based on the analysis of the language and representations found in the press, highlights the way in which consumption has appeared as an analyser of racial and social relations. However, does this approach mask the real social and political issues?

CRAGs : rationing devastating plenty
Mathilde SZUBA & Luc SEMAL
Each act of or almost act of consumption produces a greenhouse gas emission. Consequently, a type of rationing of consumption is indirectly required to reduce these emissions. CRAGs (Carbon Rationing Action Groups) are a network of local groups who operate in Great Britain. Their members work together to try to lower their individual carbon footprints by submitting to a voluntary form of rationing. By studying the words and actions of these groups, the authors highlight the following question: at what point would the creation of public policies on rationing engender a split from current norms of consumption?

Kneading consumer society in the bread machine… an emblematic object of contemporary consumption
Caroline de MONTETY
The purchase of a breadmaker, which has achieved prominence over the last few years, comes under many guises. For some it is a logical economic addition whereas for others it represents a desire for individuality. The aim may also be the pleasure of redesigning one’s meals, bringing one’s family together for the’bread ritual’ or the wish to choose one’s own ingredients and hence be in control of one’s eating or ultimately, to talk to others about one’s culinary experiences. By using a simple object, the breadmaker, as a starting point, the author demonstrates the coexistence of different’paradigms’ in contemporary consumption, but also the tensions that exist between individualism and conforming to a group, artisanal and industrial methods, professionalism and amateurism, intimateness and ostentation, what is standard and what is different, appropriation and rejection.

Also of interest

Calmer les prix
L'inflation en Europe dans les années 1970
Slowing Down Prices
European Inflation in the 1970s
Michel-Pierre Chélini, Laurent Warlouzet, et al.


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