'A provocative and stimulating intervention in a debate of key contemporary importance' - Chris Shilling, Professor of Sociology, University of Kent. Pekka Sulkunen offers a fresh look at the transition from industrial society to consumer capitalism. He asks important questions about how consumer desires are produced and regulated and what it means to attempt to regulate the way we live. This book is stimulating, erudite and important - Sue Scott, Pro Vice Chancellor at Glasgow Caledonian University. How can policy makers justify public intervention into private life? And why does this interference often translate into contradictory or non-reflexive politics on lifestyles? This engaging title discusses the social, cultural and policy consequences of these conditions as well as showing the effect of agency and choice upon regulation. The book critically examines: - Neo-Liberal ideology and the free market - The Sociology of Modernity - The New Consumer Society - Citizenship in Mass Society - The power of Autonomy - The interaction of Regulation and Agency. It provides a developed 'genealogical' account of society, is enriched by original case-studies, and engages with a broad range of traditional approaches and sources - including the work of Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens, Adam Smith and Pierre Bourdieu. This well researched and thought-provoking work will be of interest to students of social policy and sociology as well as policy-makers and field workers.