Youth Consumerism: A Cultural–Historical Approach
The term consumerism is employed in different ways, denoting (a) advocacy and rights of consumers or (b) a doctrine of or preoccupation with increased consumption of goods. Whereas constructivist studies suggest that consumerist behaviors can be changed through instruction, cultural–historical approaches emphasize the existence of any characteristically human behavior in the relations that make human society. The result is that whatever we observe as behaviors, psychological functions, and forms of personality among youths have been forms of human relations now attributed to the individual. This chapter develops a cultural–historical approach to the phenomenon of consumerism that affords understanding why youth consumerism is a mirror of societal consumerism at large. In the way consumption is the converse of production, consumerism is the converse of the ideology of every–increasing growth of the economy on which current conceptions of the world are based. From this theoretical basis, very different conclusions are drawn for what may be done in the contexts of schooling to curb any excessive orientation to the satisfaction and creation of ever–increasing consumption. Freedom from the oppression of consumerism requires conscientização, critical consciousness and critical action.
KeywordsConsumerism Oppression Needs Choice Freedom Conscientização
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