Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption

Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption

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"I like the fact that the book is relatively even-handed - appreciating spectacle even while forcing students to question critically the effects of consumption in their lives and those of their fellow citizens."

-Gary Alan Fine, Northwestern University

"Enchanting a Disenchanted World is a tour de force. Drawing upon a rich array of examples, George Ritzer provides an original and insightful analysis of the new means of consumption and how they are transforming our lives. . . . Analytically crisp, jargon free, and packed with fresh illustrations, Enchanting a Disenchanted World is equally effective as an engaging read for specialists and a lucid text for classroom use. Highly recommended to scholars and students."

-Kevin Fox Gotham, Tulane University

"I think this is a great book! I have enjoyed working with it, and so have my students. . . . I especially like the chapters that deal with social theory. These chapters are very effective in presenting social theory to students, as they contain very clear and straightforward explanations of the ideas of otherwise very complex and difficult social theorists."

-Ann Branaman, Florida Atlantic University

Megamalls. Restaurant chains. Elaborate casinos. Deluxe cruise ships. Enormous theme parks. Everywhere we turn, there is a new place being constructed in which to spend money. The Second Edition of Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption examines the development of these settings, and many others like them, in the last half century.

Author George Ritzer takes a look at how a revolutionary change has occurred in the places in which we consume goods and services, and how it has a profound effect not only on the nature of consumption but also on social life. In the process of taking capitalism to a new level, we have created new "cathedrals of consumption"-locales to which we make pilgrimages in order to practice our consumer religion. The book offers rich detail on consuming in places such as Las Vegas, Disney World, cruise ships, Wal-Mart, and McDonald’s-all competing to outdo one another to see which one can put on the greatest show and lure the most consumers.

Enchanting a Disenchanted World is a unique analysis of the world of consumption, examining how we are different consumers now than we were in the past, both in the U.S. and around the world. In the process of understanding this social development, a wide range of theoretical perspectives including Marxian, Weberian, critical theory, and postmodern theory are applied. The book also looks at concepts such as hyperconsumption, implosion, time and space, and simulation.

New to the Second Edition:

  • A new Chapter 7 has been added discussing "landscapes of consumption," or locales that encompass two or more cathedrals of consumption, giving a broader geographic context to examine the changes in consumption settings, their impact on the lure of consumption, and the pressure to consume.
  • A new section has been added to Chapter 3, devoted to the historical importance of the early Parisian arcades and to the thinking of the important social theorist, Walter Benjamin, on these sites.
  • The book has been thoroughly revised and updated and discusses the new big players among the cathedrals of consumption, including Disney’s upcoming theme park in Hong Kong, the new Queen Mary II, the soon-to-be completed casino resort Wynn Las Vegas, and many more.

Enchanting a Disenchanted World connects the everyday world in a sociological and theoretical way, making it an ideal text for a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses including introductory sociology, sociology of consumption , social change, popular culture, sociology of leisure, social theory, and economic sociology. The book will also be of value to anyone interested in exploring a sociological analysis of the world’s changing and expanding patterns and places of consumption.