Summary

The research papers provide important insight to
various aspects of psychology relationship of consumer (subject) and consumed
(object) and transition in consumption behaviour of consumers with changing
times, globalisation of economy and improved financial conditions of consumers,
keeping in view the age, gender, family and social, cultural, cross-cultural
and national/trans-national factors also.

Douglas B. Holt,
in his interpretivist and cognitive study traces psychological connect between
consumer and consumed and opine that consumer practices are governed by three
basic psychological metaphors ‘consuming as experience’, ‘consuming as
integration’, ‘consuming as classification’ and he adds another metaphor
‘consuming as play’ to this list to make the number of metaphors as 4th
metaphor. The consumer first prepares an account of such emotional state, then
evaluates it and then appreciates it by expression of emotions like joy, irony,
poor, happiness, disappointment, humour, clapping etc. The consumer identifies
himself with the consumed object and then he personalises with it and the
consumer then classifies the object for future and he even turns participant
like consumed object. Holt thus opines that his study relating to consumption
practices shall be able to explain materialism and consumption styles/patterns
by finding out customer’s perception about consumed object.

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The authors Zukin and Maguire trace the history of
changes in consumption practices over a period of time and factors responsible
for such changes since nineteenth century to date by reviewing literature. Transition
started due to industrialisation in 16th/ 18th century in
England late 19th century to first half of 20th century
in US and became a continuous process after rejection of socialist or communist
polity in Russia, China and Eastern Europe. Reference has been to Karl Marx’s
capitalist philosophy considering more consumption than the basic requirements,
a social evil which has now transformed to the present day scenario of consumer
driven society, self-service culture, online and Mall cultures etc. thanks to
rejection of such ‘closed polity’ to world over acceptance of the ‘open
society’ and globalisation. The post world war-I and II saw industry’s
marketing strategies to lure consumer, advertisements, literatures in the form
of newspapers, magazines (like Vanity fair, Ebony) helped to enhance consumer
knowledge. Retail stores, quality and variety of products, consumer oriented
services etc. helped the consumers come out of the shell to fulfil their seemingly
endless desires and it paved the way for development of consumer culture. Mass
production and free geographical mobility of good quality products led to mass
consumption offering gender specific, culture specific, age specific, festival
targeted, demographically and geographically oriented products and innovative
designs appealed the consumers to keep them in their buy list which was also helped
by women employment and empowerment. This led to conduct of ‘values and
lifestyle surveys’ (VALS) by the industry strategists to assess social as well
as integrity aspects of individual consumers.

The study of Garcia Canclini (2001) revealed that
consumers living away from their country also preferred to adapt to local
culture in consumption. The signs of globalisation prompts young people to
reduce interest in their traditional culture in their consumption habits and
they prefer leisure visit/trip over visit to a church. However, Arlene Davila
(2012) and Chin (2001) opined that despite all advancements the basic traits of
individuals remain intact and the collective identity in terms of ethinicity,
nationality, holidays, festivals etc. are respected and followed by despite
transnationalism.

 

This way the evolution of consumerism drew the
attention of marketing strategists and thinkers and has attained the status of an
independent and ‘Institunalised field’ of interest and specialised study as of
now.

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