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Self and Body

by Roberta Sassatelli

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This article investigates the historical formation and specific configuration of a threefold relation crucial to contemporary society, that between the body, the self, and material culture, which, in contemporary, late modern (or post-industrial) societies, has become largely defined through consumer culture. Drawing on historiography, sociology, and anthropology, it explores how, from the early modern period, the consolidation of new consumption patterns and values has given way to particular visions of the human being as a consumer, and how, in turn, the consumer has become a cultural battlefield for the management of body and self. The article also discusses tastes, habits, and individualization.

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