Luxury, Consumer Culture and Sumptuary Dynamics

Featherstone, Mike. 2016. Luxury, Consumer Culture and Sumptuary Dynamics. Luxury: History, Culture, Consumption, 1(1), pp. 47-69. ISSN 2051-1817 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The production of an expanding range of consumer goods and luxuries is generally seen as one of the main engines driving the global economy. Contemporary consumer culture and media advertising reveal an endless fascination with the luxurious lifestyles of celebrities and the super-rich. If luxury is central to social life today, we should be aware that for much of western history up to the eighteenth century, luxury has been depicted as a dangerous thing, corrosive of morality and social order. This paper examines a number of dynamics and vectors of luxury which include: the democratization of luxury; austere luxury; connoisseurship; the shift from material to immaterial luxuries; the move from sensual pleasures to more contemplative recollections and mediations. The various dynamics in their different ways seek to explore some of the crossovers between art, luxury, imagination and everyday life as well as inquiring into the imputed power of the luxury object.

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Identification Number (DOI):


consumer culture, luxury, senses, connoisseurship, object

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)


28 November 2016Published
1 October 2014Accepted

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Date Deposited:

16 Jun 2017 10:44

Last Modified:

03 Jun 2020 13:25

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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