Enchanting a Disenchanted World
Continuity and Change in the Cathedrals of Consumption
- George Ritzer - University of Maryland, USA
Social Problems | Social Theory | Sociology of Consumption
Its thesis is that our society has undergone fundamental change because of the way and the level at which we consume. In the process of taking capitalism to a new level, we have created new "cathedrals" of consumption (places which enchant us in order to stay longer and consume more), but these "places" of consumption (whether in our home or at the mall or in cyberspace) are in a constant state of "enchanting the disenchanted" because their rational qualities are both necessary and deadening at the same time, in a constant state of "luring" us through new "spectacle."
In the process of understanding this paradox of (post) modern life, readers understand how the classic social theorists from the past (Marx and Weber) are still very relevant to understanding this social development, as are the post-modern theorist (Beaudrillard and Focault) as well. The recent economic recession will be discussed throughout the book.
There are no other "trade-like" books appealing to undergraduates, which combine this ability to connect the "everyday world" of the "20-something consumer" with sociological analysis.
Features & Benefits
- Enchanting a Disenchanted World is a unique analysis of the world of consumption, especially the settings in which consumption takes place, of interest to students, laypeople and scholars alike.
- The impact of the current global recession will be discussed throughout the text.
- Offers rich detail on consuming in such places as Las Vegas, Disney World, on cruise ships, in Wal-Mart, at McDonald's, and, new to this edition, on the Web.
- A wide range of theoretical perspectives- Marxian, Weberian, critical theory, postmodern theory- are employed, as well as a number of concepts such as hyperconsumption, implosion, simulation, time and space to show students how sociological theory can be applied to everyday phenomena.
May be supplemental with another text.
Adopted two other books (The Social Lens and Illuminating Social Life) published by Sage that substantively covers the core ideas in this text.
I have used Ritzer's Enchanting a Disenchanted World for perhaps 4 years now. I use it for three reasons: 1) it demonstrates Marx, Weber, and Baudriallrd so that students see theorizing being done; 2) it imaginatively and cogently addresses an issue with which we are all familiar; 3) it shows sociology's critical potential and capacity.
This is an accessible but thorough discussion of 'consumer society' - a key text for today's social theory students.
This is a great follow-up from Ritzer and for many students offers an alternative perspective towards neo-liberal critiques. In addition, it offers another way of thinking about the impact of social orders on changes and trends within and accross a range of community practices.
Sample Materials & Chapters
Ch 1. A Tour of the New Means of Consumption
Ch 8. The Cathedrals (and Landscapes) of Consumption