'Roberta Sassatelli has written a thorough and wide-ranging synthetic account of social scientific research on consumption which will set the standard for the second generation of textbooks on cultures of consumption. Consumer Culture is an appealing and lucid introduction to the major themes - historical and contemporary, theoretical and empirical - surrounding the growth, nature and consequences of consumer culture. It will be of professional interest as well as serving a student audience' - Alan Warde , University of Manchester. Showing the cultural and institutional processes that have brought the notion of the 'consumer' to life, this book guides the reader on a comprehensive journey through the history of how we have come to understand ourselves as consumers in a consumer society and reveals the profound ambiguities and ambivalences inherent within. While rooted in sociology, Sassatelli draws on the traditions of history, anthropology, geography and economics to give: - A history of the rise of consumer culture around the world; - A richly illustrated analysis of theory from neo-classical economics, to critical theory, to theories of practice and ritual de-commoditization; and - A compelling discussion of the politics underlying our consumption practices. An exemplary introduction to the history and theory of consumer culture, this book provides nuanced answers to some of the most central questions of our time.