Production of Consumers and the Formation of Desire: A Neo-Thomist Perspective


SKU: 9781978707054
Author: Darr, Christine
Publication Date: 12/29/2022
Publisher: Fortress Academic
Binding: Hardcover
Media: Book
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We live in a society surrounded by stuff and bombarded with advertisements that try to convince us that shopping will improve our lives. Sometimes our lives do improve, yet our purchases are more often motivated by an impulse to satisfy immediate desires rather than reflective deliberation about how our purchasing choices enable us to live the lives we want. Christian moral reflection often criticizes this conundrum as “mindless consumerism,” arguing that it pulls Christians away from loving God above all things. While such critiques often encourage Christians to focus their desire on God rather than material goods, we might still wonder how we can exercise such control over our desires. By attending to desire itself ─ how it arises, how it is shaped by social context, and its role in cultivating a virtuous life ─ we can learn how to desire and then act in ways that are more consonant with our conception of what it means to live well. Within the Christian tradition, Thomas Aquinas offers a compelling model of human desire that, when juxtaposed with Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of social practices, can help us make more considered judgments about how to navigate the consumer society in which we live.