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Consumption takes place in settings or environments which have both direct and indirect effects on its dynamic path. Direct effects of environments on activities in consuming can occur through constraints that environments impose. Environment can also have indirect effects on consumption through enduring modification of internalized constructs which enter heuristics for decisions on activities. The importance of environments to consumption is increased by the definitional dependence of status on the judgements of others. This study examines microprocessing in consumer activities for status as it interacts with structure in the environments of these activities.
The importance of environments in status activities provides the basis for a seperate, but related inquiry into observed differences in the form they take across societies. Conjecture on the consequences of differences in the structure of environments for consumption that typify a society is studied in the narrative statements by members of comparison societies and in the content of print advertising in these societies. Evolutionary processes which could establish observed differences in structure across societies are also considered in both their systematic and random components. I review models of random drift and stochastic resonance as candidate forms for generating observed structure in environments. Directions for the subsequent study of status through consumption are discussed.P
Introduction: Status Through Consumption; Knowledge Use in Nonwork Activities for Status; Interactions of Consumer Microprocessing and Structured Environments: Activity Feedback and the Stability of Structure; Awards and Honors Systems in Structured Environments: Cross Societal Comparisons of Narrative Statements on Consuming for Status; Comparative Analyses of Consumption Appeals in the Print Advertising of the USA and France, 1955-1991 Random Process in the Generation of Structured Environments; Overview and directions for Study of Status Through Consumption.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
The use of goods and services in competition for social status has been the basis for an extensive historical dialogue with indications of its importance in the frameworks of several disciplines (e.g., Smith 1976 [1759], Marshall 1925 [1890], Veblen 1994 [1904], Weber 1968 [1922]). While status through consumption was well recognized in earlier social theory (e.g., Smith 1928 [1776], 1976 [1759]), twentieth-century economists and social theorists with interests in resource allocation, social structure, and consumer welfare economics had their interests piqued by the observations of the fabled excesses in status-directed consumption during the “high period” or “gilded age” which followed American industrial expansion at the turn of the century. The spectre of large-scale spending on “conspicuous consumption” by a class newly endowed with wealth in that period was without precedent in modern history and inspired its own literature in both fictional (Fitzgerald 1925) and nonfictional forms (Mason 1998).
Steven D. Silver

Chapter 2. Studying Consumption Through Nonwork Activities

Abstract
In this chapter, the framework for the study of consumption through nonwork activities will be elaborated upon and given explicit form. The form of a general system in nonwork activities will be extended to the structured environments and more complex dynamics that activities for status introduce. I will represent rudimentary effects of dual fields in these environments in the heuristic for consumer allocations to goods and services in nonwork activities. In the next chapter, I will use the extended system to study the interaction of structure in environments and dynamic microprocessing in activities for status.
Steven D. Silver

Chapter 3. Interactions of Microprocessing and Structured Environments: Activity feedbacks and the Stability of Structure

Abstract
In this chapter, I will elaborate on the effects of structured environments when the dynamics of constructs in consumer microprocessing are more completely represented. I will suggest that the study of the interaction between structured environments and microprocessing contributes to an understanding of how structure is maintained through consumption as it is through work (e.g., Kohn and Slomczynski 1990). The study of this interaction also furthers inference on how environments of consuming relate to common welfare objectives in efficiency and inequality. These objectives have extensive histories in dialogues on their relationships (Bowles and Gintis 1996; Lipsey and Lancaster 1956; Okun 1975; Samuelson 1983) and how they relate to other objectives such as stable growth (e.g., Birdsall, Ross and Sabot 1995; Persson and Tabellini 1994; Perotti 1996; Knell 1999). As indicated, in addition to directly constraining the activities of consumers in a time period, structure in environments can have enduring effects on activities in interactive systems through modifications of constructs in microprocessing which define the forms and levels of these activities. Moreover, such a differentiation of consumers by structure in environments is emergent and self-maintaining.
Steven D. Silver

Chapter 4. Structured Environments of Status Activities: Awards and Honors Systems

Abstract
The importance of environments of nonwork activities when the objective of these activities is in status judgments has been emphasized in previous chapters. Following Bourdieu (e.g., 1985, 1993, 1996 [1989]; Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992), traditions of  Lewin and his colleagues (e.g., Lewin 1951; Stivers and Wheelan 1986) and more recent organizational theorists, environments have been conceptualized in terms of institutionalized fields. Structure in the environments of status activities is suggested as having a common property of dual fields across societies with the respective fields imposing different conditions on activities. Institutions in the field discussed as the restricted field are typically more supportive of activities which use specialized knowledge than are institutions in the field designated as the commercial field.
Steven D. Silver

Chapter 5. Comparative Analyses of Consumption Appeals in the Print Advertising of the U.S. and France, 1955-1991

Abstract
The preceding chapter considered differences in the extent and form of status granting institutions in the U.S. and several European societies, and implications of these differences for status through consumption. The well-defined systems of public honors and awards in France and the U.K. that recognize individual attainment in diverse content areas were first reviewed in the discourse of the chapter. Narratives on status granting by individuals considered to be key informants in societies that differed most in the extent of formal institutions for status granting were then reported. The narratives by individuals considered to be key informants in French and American society suggested that public awards and honors are integrated differently into everyday status judgments in comparison societies. French respondents commonly suggested the continuing importance of professional and intellectual attainment and contributions to society through service in criteria represented in public honors and awards.
Steven D. Silver

Chapter 6. Random Processes in the Generation of Structured Environments

Abstract
In previous chapters, I discussed the structured environments of nonwork activities for status. Effects of parameters of a rudimentary form to represent structure as it interacts with microprocessing were studied in numerical exercises. I also contextualized the discussion of restricted fields in environments in societal awards and honors systems. Substantial differences in these systems were noted between societies with geographical proximities and correspondence in their histories. I then suggested that random events or events which were at least random in their timing may have had more importance to the observed form of public awards and honors systems than many accounts of institutional evolution which are presently influential allow. This is consistent with the initial discussion of “order” and “chance” effects in the enduring forms of consumer activities and the demonstration of properties of an interactive activity system in retaining effects of single period disturbances to system constructs in simulation exercises. A transfer of a governance system to a democracy, the appearance of charismatic leadership and the arrival of new technology are examples of events which can be random in their form and timing.
Steven D. Silver

Chapter 7. Overview and Directions for the Study of Status Through Consumption

Abstract
In this chapter, I review the conceptual framework and empirical results of the preceding chapters and discuss directions for the subsequent study of status through consumption. I begin by reviewing the framework for the study of consumption through nonwork activities in its application to status through consumption.
Steven D. Silver

Backmatter

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