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The Experience Society

The Experience Society

Consumer Capitalism Rebooted

Steven Miles

What is the consequence of commodifying experiences?

Airbnb, gaming, escape rooms, major sporting events: contemporary capitalism no longer demands we merely consume things, but that we buy experiences. This book is concerned with the social, cultural and personal implications of this shift.

The technologically-driven world we live in is no closer to securing the utopian ideal of a leisure society. Instead, the pursuit of leisure is often an attempt to escape our everyday existence. Exploring examples including sport, architecture, travel and social media, Steven Miles investigates how consumer culture has colonised 'experiences', revealing the ideological and psycho-social tensions at the heart of the 'experience society'.

The first critical analysis of the experience economy by a UK sociologist sheds light on capitalism's ever more sophisticated infiltration of the everyday.

Steven Miles is Professor in Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is the author of five books including, Consumerism as a Way of Life (Sage, 1998) Spaces for Consumption (Sage, 2004) and Retail and the Artifice of Social Change (Routledge, 2016). He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Consumer Culture.

'Well written and extensively researched, this book is a must read for anyone seeking to understand the nature of consumption and experience in contemporary society' - Garry Crawford, co-author of 'Video Games as Culture'

'An enlightening grand tour of the neoliberal experience economy. Probing beneath the ideological rhetoric of self-expressive consumer choices, Miles reveals how the psycho-social effects of the experience economy are governed by new forms of capitalist influence' - Professor Craig Thompson, the James R. McManus-Bascom Professor in Marketing and the Gilbert and Helen Churchill Professor in the Marketing Department of the Wisconsin School of Business

'Takes us on a powerful analytic journey that exposes the underpinning ideological processes that define who and what we are as citizens of a society driven by consumerism' - Pauline Maclaran, Professor of Marketing & Consumer Research in the School of Management at Royal Holloway

1. The Meaning of Experience
2. Ideologies of Identity
3. Leisure and Travel
4. Sport
5. Work
6. Architecture
7. Cafe Culture
8. Social Media
9. Conclusion: Where Next for the Experience Society?
Published by Pluto Press in Jan 2021
Paperback ISBN: 9780745338699
Hardcover ISBN: 9780745338705
eBook ISBN: 9781786805607

208 pages

135mm x 215mm