You Are What You Consume: Consumption, Materialism and Self in the 21st Century
Rationally, we know that material possessions alone do not bring happiness, yet the evidence shows that consumers persist in resorting to spending their way to imagined satisfaction. This lecture explores the realities of 21st Century consumer society from a consumer and marketing perspective.
Dissatisfaction rather than satisfaction is the hallmark of the ever-changing consumer landscape. Individuals see objects and acquisition as the means to fulfilment and self-completion. The market ensures that these desires are aroused faster than the time it takes to satisfy them.
Consumer desire is therefore a paradox; once in possession of the objects from which consumers seek gratification, it is never very long before the familiar feelings of discontent return with new purchasing aspirations.
Helen Woodruffe-Burton joined Edge Hill University as Professor of Marketing in September 2015 and was appointed Director of the Business School in March 2016. A Chartered Marketer, internationally-recognised researcher and author, Helen has published widely on consumption and consumer behaviour, methodology and gender and intersectionality. Helen sits on the Executive Committee of the Academy of Marketing, is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Marketors and is a regular keynote speaker at business and academic events.
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