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The ethics of second-hand consumption


Franklin, A, The ethics of second-hand consumption, Ethical Consumption, Routledge, T Lewis and E Potter (ed), Great Britain, pp. 156-168. ISBN 9780415558259 (2011) [Research Book Chapter]

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Copyright 2011 Routledge

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Over the past forty years the shame and stigma associated with second-hand consumption has given way to a more confident and exuberant championing of second-hand shopping as an ethical alternative to unregulated and uncontrolled 'consumerism'. This chapter will begin by setting out what is known of the scale and growth of the second-hand market. It will then consider the extent to which this growth is a response to environmentalism and the ethical consumer movement. It will be argued that although these have had an impact they do not explain the complex origins of this market growth, particularly the social, aesthetic, political and moral contexts out of which second-hand consumption has emerged. A more complex theoretical and historical account will be constructed using the works of Walter Benjamin (1955), Zygmunt Bauman (2000), Wolfgang Welsch (1997), David Ley (1996) and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (1998) as well as some recent ethnographic studies of collecting, particularly the works of Russell Belk et al. (1991), Nicky Gregson and Louise Crewe (2003), Alison Clark (2000) and others. This account will be structured around four distinct if overlapping cultural shifts: first, the 'anti-modem' countercultural movements of the 1970s that addressed the liquefaction of tradition and culture and the arrival of what can be called a disposable modernity; second, an 'aestheticization process' that relates to powerful trends in art, design, manufacturing and consumption that aroused a curiosity for the archaeology of modernity; third, the routinization of collecting in modernity and its association with memory, conservation and preservation; and, lastly the use of second-hand objects in the generation of 'cool' and its material performance through 'stylistic arrhythmia'.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Applied sociology, program evaluation and social impact assessment
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Franklin, A (Professor Adrian Franklin)
ID Code:65295
Year Published:2011
Deposited By:Sociology and Social Work
Deposited On:2010-10-27
Last Modified:2018-07-17
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