This text provides an examination of the relationship between consumption, the idea of the body and the formation of the self. In tracing these connections, the book develops a profile of individuality in the late-20th century in terms of bodily and mental aspects. The author offers a synthesis and critical assessment of the debates surrounding the body, the self and contemporary consumer culture. He explores two fundamental issues for current social theory: the deliniation of modern consumption and our understanding of the nature of embodiment. In the course of the argument, metaphors and anthropologies of consumption are examined, and key questions regarding representations in advertising and pornography are raised. The book also highlights the body's historically changing position in various cultural orders. Balancing concern with the contingent nature of definition of the body with the culturally and historically specific notions of the self and its boudaries, this book posits a theory of the consuming body in relation to the embodied human condition. It should be of use to students and academics of cultural studies, sociology, anthropology and philosophy.
Pasi Falk is a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology, University of Helsinki