We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

The Transformation of Luxury in Post-Consumerism

FENG, SHUO (2024) The Transformation of Luxury in Post-Consumerism. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Luxury is a variable and equivocal concept whose meaning is constantly changing and subject to individuals’ perceptions and external social, political, economic, and cultural contexts. The contemporary meaning of luxury is undergoing a transformation regarding the rising criticism of capitalist consumerism and a series of social turbulences, including the global pandemic, wars, climate change, and wealth polarisation. This thesis, therefore, sets out to explore how the notion of luxury is transformed and adapted to a post-consumerist context. In doing so the thesis engages literature from critical marketing, anti-consumerism, degrowth, and critical and unconventional luxury studies. To understand how luxury is understood and presented by non-mainstream social parties and groups, a discourse analysis on contents produced by alternative media was conducted. Stemming from this, ‘post-consumerist luxury’ is proposed as an alternative theoretical perspective to conceptualise luxury in post-consumerism. Following this, an ethnography was undertaken in an intentional community in England and employed research methods, including participant observation, field notes, and ethnographic interviewing, for data collection. Data collected from the ethnography contributed to three analysis chapters, which, respectively, disclose the liminality of the community residents for living on the border between the mainstream consumerist society and the alternative post-consumerist community; the construction of the term ‘post-consumerism’ by the community members; and how these people, as post-consumerist citizens, interpret and experience post-consumerist luxury in everyday practices. Altogether, these chapters shed light on what meanings and forms luxury has been given in contexts beyond consumerism and what underlying values are appreciated and endorsed in post-consumerism that encourage the formation of these new meanings. Further, this thesis adds to the conceptualisation of the emerging idea of ‘post-consumerism’ and implies the challenges that post-consumerist citizens may face in finding an equilibrium between their practice of alternative post-consumerist living and their inevitable entanglement with the capitalist society.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Business > Management and Marketing, Department of
Thesis Date:2024
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:27 Mar 2024 13:54

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter