ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Negotiating the Relationship between Commodities and Their Images

Consumerist Encounters: Flirting with Things and Images by Sreedeep Bhattacharya, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2020; pp xviii+273, `1,495 (hardcover).

Over the years, the thinking that market forces have acquired a determining role not only in the economy of the country but also peoples life has become naturalised. This thinking provides succour to serious academic research, narratives of identity, choice, mobility, and social status. At the same time, peoples endearing engagement with consumption poses new challenges chiefly to materiality, sense of the self, and traditional social order. These developments inform critical thought, notions of the normative in society, and social policy. Issues of the practice of exclusionary consumption strategies as a contributory factor to the construction and assertion of middle-class identity in colonial and postcolonial periods, play of commodities in the representation of urban space, anonymity, multiple identities and niche clientele, presentation of the body as a site of desire and pleasure, renewed aspirations, screen-mediated navigations, and afterlife of things underlie the need for new ways of interrogating and interpreting the issue of consumption in a social context.

The book, Consumerist Encounters: Flirting with Things and Images, addresses these issues squarely. This volume is a laboured attempt to connect seemingly diverse concerns and in doing so combines empirical research with conceptual frames, disciplinary perspectives and comportment-based positions. The chapters address a range of issues and concerns surrounding commodities, consumption, and the consumerist landscape. Nine chapters are framed in discursive prolegomena and well-thought-out envoi. The book begins with an overview of our relationship with commodities which is then used to develop an understanding of consumption per se and to chart out the process of consumption-driven transformation in the post-liberalisation period. Central to what the author refers to as consumerist landscape is the intersection between the material, the visual, and the popular.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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