Society’s Visible Patrimony. A Sociological Approach to Understanding Consumption and Material Culture

Francesca Setiffi


This essay explores the unique advantage that a sociological approach to the study of consumption and material culture can provide. While in anthropological literature objects, goods, things, exchanges and gifts are treated with the same weight as values, ideologies and collective beliefs, in sociological literature the amount of analytical and interpretive attention given to material culture has been the result of a longer process of coming to understand the symbolic nature of the world of objects. The increasing prevalence of consumption processes in everyday life merits an investigation of material culture’s symbolic and explicatory potential as an area of symbolic mediation. An area in which the subject constructs social ties and relations and activates processes of self-identification and mutual recognition. 


material culture; sociology of consumption; social relationships

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ISSN 2239-8589 | Managing Editor: Debora Viviani | Editor in Chief: Paola Di Nicola