Towards an object-relations theory of consumerism: The aesthetics of desire and the unfolding materiality of social life

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Title Towards an object-relations theory of consumerism: The aesthetics of desire and the unfolding materiality of social life
Author Woodward, Ian Stuart
Journal Name Journal of Consumer Culture
Year Published 2011
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Abstract This paper addresses some fundamental questions in the field of consumption studies through an exploration of literatures within object-relations psychoanalytic theory. It takes materiality as its central concern, dealing especially with questions of actor– commodity relations. In particular the paper uses the conceptual apparatus of the object-relations approach to propose a new way for theorizing aspects of consumption practice relating to person–object relationships. After situating the discussion within contemporary debates in consumption studies, the paper uses DWWinnicott’s work as a point from which to integrate broader literatures on aesthetic experience and subject– object relations. The paper draws out the cultural implications and affinities of Winnicott’s model and argues that his approach usefully suggests pathways for developing a model of consumption which neither reduces person–object exchanges to the psyche, assemblages of practices, or to the dead hand of social-structural forces. Rather, it is argued that Winnicott’s model is suggestive of the more widespread and powerful cultural implications arising from relations between actors and objects of consumption.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1469540511417997
Copyright Statement Copyright 2011 SAGE Publications. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Volume 11
Issue Number 3
Page from 366
Page to 384
ISSN 1469-5405
Date Accessioned 2012-01-16
Language en_US
Research Centre Griffith Centre for Cultural Research
Faculty Arts, Education and Law
Subject Social Theory
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/43960
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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