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Jane Helleiner

SOCI 1P80 - Sept 30th, 2011 Pre-quiz extra office hours: Thurs. Oct 6, 11-12 Academic South No seminars for the week after thanksgiving Read only pages 160-164 from Chap. 6 for lecture after quiz Consumption and Exchange Culture and Consumption: What is consumption? It is the things we intake and the things we output (waste products of our consumption). Non-market economies needs can be met by “spending” time/labour, not cash. Scenario where you can meet your basic needs through labour which will provide you with what you need without giving money (eg. Pastoralism, horticulturalism, etc). Modes of consumption- linked to mode of production. Foraging: minimalism, finite needs, once you have what you need you stop production. eg. Vishvajit Pandya Onge worked with foraging people in Indonesia in December 2004. Foragers had re-established their lives easily, they didn’t require much from the government, went back to fishing almost immediately. Industrialism: consumerism, infinite needs, we are encouraged to want more and more. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, June 2008: Put out a report where they tried to calculate the ecological footprint by income in Canada. Talked about how the richest 10% of people had an extra 12.4 hectares needed for others. The poorest 10% only used 5 hectares of land. The Canadian average is 7.6 (3x China and 7x India). Canadians were the third largest worldwide with the biggest consumption patterns. Consumption funds: ways of consumption Basic Needs Funds: food, water, clothing, etc Recurrent costs fund: additional maintenance and repair needed to keep that going Entertainment fund: used for leisure activities ceremonial fund: cost involved in participating in a gathering or ceremonial event rent and tax fund: give to others a portion of our resources to others to ensure we are taken care of Different modes of production: shift in funds. Depending on your culture different funds will be needed. In a foraging community, the basic needs funds and consumption funds will be significant. eg. Amertya Sen studied consumption inequalities in terms of the idea of entitlements (culturally defined right to life-sustaining resources). Some of us have stronger entitlements to the resources we need. Direct entitlements means for example “I own the land on which I grow the food and materials I need”. In an industrial economy, most people have indirect entitlements. We need to earn money somewhere to go purchase resources from others. That vulnerability led him to look at famine as “entitlement failure”, that people had been unable to ensure their access to life sustaining resources. Foraging Mode of Production: Everyone has very similar entitlement bundles. Everyone knows how to gather, hunt, make clothes, etc. Everybody also has a direct link to those resources. Industrial Mode of Production: Different/unequal entitlement bundles. More indirect entitlements. Using these abstract concepts, looking and Sen and his look at famine. Entitlement at 3 levels: 1. Global 2. National 3. Within households (age and gender based divisions) Who in the world becomes vulnerable? Who is protected? He would argue there is no purely “natural” disaster, the effects of natural crisis will have different effects on different areas, a social suffering. Taking this basic idea we can look at how class postion, gender, race, ethnicity, age, etc, can influence: 1. Entitlements (may be deep inequalities along some of these lines) 2. Consumption Patterns (associated with positioning in societies) P. Bourdieu’s work on “taste” or “style” of class-based consumption: game of distinction. How do we see this when it comes to basic needs such as food, clothes, water, etc? -A person who is wealthy may go to an expensive coffee shop and get high quality coffee, whereas someone poorer may get cheaper coffee. -Accommodation: begin with apartment, then house, then cottages, then mansions, etc. -Along with that basic difference is a cultural evaluation that some consumption represents a tacky, garish view to consumption (eg. American news VS Canadian news: one is given more value and prestige than the other). eg. Elizabeth Chin’s interest for her work was children and consumption. Her project started with looking at the dominant popular notion that in North America consumption is greedy and/or manipulated, out of control, but... Her work was among class minority children in New Haven, Connecticut (Newhallville), they had few entitlements, focused on basic needs fund. Using the methodology of participant/observation, spent 2 years with 22 kids in 5th grade, trying to establish a peer-like relationship with children. In terms of consumption, she took three girls on a shopping trip, offered them 20$ to spend as a gift. What she found was that the consumption of these girls was intensely social. They were immediately thinking about what to get for their families, they thought carefully about what they bought and they were often gifts. They desired brand names, but they didn’t buy them. They were very practical and generous when it came to spending. Their consumerism was deeply shaped by relations with kin/friends and wid
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