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date: 22 May 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Debates on the relationship between consumption and well-being predate the emergence of consumer societies by thousands of years, but have recently intensified with growing concerns about global warming and new data on subjective happiness. This chapter reviews how two broadly defined research orientations in consumer behavior have approached well-being. The first, consumer culture theory (CCT), addressed issues vital to well-being, such as the construction of community and personal identity. The second, “neo positivist,” utilizes quantitative methods to infer relationships between objective conditions of consumer society and subjective experience. After a discussion of consumer society in general, the chapter highlights criticisms and defenses of marketing and consumer societies within CCT. Next, the chapter discusses objective indicators of well-being within consumer societies, particularly as debated within economics, quantitative sociology and the environmental sciences. Finally, the authors outline findings from positive psychology on subjective well-being within consumer societies, with a particular focus on income, materialism and consumer behavior.

Keywords: Happiness, subjective well-being, materialism, consumer culture, consumerism, voluntary simplicity

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