Sociology Index

Inconspicuous Consumption

Inconspicuous consumption is a good philosophy. In times of economic recession people prefer inconspicuous consumption, though they don't really want to cut back. In recent times of inconspicuous consumption, the true symbol of high status, particulary in times of mass luxury, is conspicuous non-consumption like the growing tendency of the super rich to dress scruffily. Being thin is also inconspicuous consumption that distinguishes the rich. Conspicuous consumption conveys the idea of a society where social status is earned and displayed by patterns of consumption. Modern American elites have come to favour inconspicuous consumption. Other related concept to Inconspicuous Consumption include Veblen Effects and Counter-Veblen Effect.

Inconspicuous Consumption - Work-Rich, Time-Poor in the Liberal Market Economy 
We illustrate different modalities of the practices of inconspicuous consumption and distinguish it from other consumption practices. In contrast to ideas of conspicuous consumption based on display, we present a concept of inconspicuous consumption relating to an imagined future use of purchases already made. Expensive leisure goods that symbolize a wished-for self-identity or lifestyle are purchased by high-income earners with little leisure time, as in symbolic communications. The purchased goods remain ‘in storage’ at home as symbols of a potential but unrealized and, in the meantime, unrealizable future. - Oriel Sullivan, Ben Gurion University, Jonathan Gershuny, University of Essex - Journal of Consumer Culture, Vol. 4, No. 1, 79-100 (2004).

Inconspicuous Consumption: An Obsessive Look at the Stuff We Take for Granted, from the Everyday to the Obscure - Paul Lukas.

In Inconspicuous Consumption the fetish value of the obscure and bizarre products that occupy the back shelves of supermarkets is explored in detail. The pleasures of sauerkraut juice and toothpick dispensers. From kitschy novelties and wildly unappetizing food products to beautifully functional items such as garlic presses, Inconspicuous Consumption is a celebration of the sometimes elegant, sometimes ridiculous fringes of our late-20th-century culture.