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883. Consumption as pedagogy of simulation

Working Paper n.883 - Luglio 2022

Filippo Pietrini

Phd Student, DEPS USiena


This paper highlights the still actual aspects of post-structuralist consumption analysis and in particular that of Baudrillard and Bourdieu. I analyze the today world of consumption through this theoretical lens. I do not deny that the consumer has an active role in the sense creation, that the meanings of consumption acts are variable or that in addition to the enunciator, an enunciateer and a socio-cultural context come into play. But I would rather argue that there are still valid reasons to recover a partially deterministic vision between the social position (and not the classes) and, this is the novelty of the paper, the mode of signification (and not the goods/services or their constellations, as in the historical Bourdieu’s map). I identify various empirical facts of this connection between social structure and consumption. I argue that consumption has been and is a pedagogy of simulation (in terms of manipulation of social meanings) and it is precisely in this sense that it spread to other fields, from the political positions on social issues to the presentation of the self in every day life. Finally, I highlight the social consequences of consumption as a language and the symbolic dimension this entails nowadays


Sociology of consumption, post-structuralism, simulation, ideology, symbolic value.

Jel Codes

A12, Z13