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Hyperconsumerism, hyper-consumerism, hyperconsumption or hyper-consumption refer to the consumption of goods for non-functional purposes and the associated significant pressure to consume those goods, exerted by modern capitalist society, as those goods shape one's identity. Frenchy Lunning defines it curtly as "a consumerism for the sake of consuming."
In a hyper-consumption society, "each social experience is mediated by market mechanisms", as market exchanges have spread to institutions in which they played lesser (if any) role previously, such as universities.
Another of the characteristics of hyperconsumerism is the constant pursuit of novelty, encouraging consumers to buy new and discard the old, seen particularly in fashion, where the product lifecycle can be very short, measured sometimes in weeks only.
In hyperconsumerism, goods are often status symbols, as individuals buy them not so much to use them, as to display them to others, sending associated meanings (such as displaying wealth). However, according to other theorists, the need to consume in hyper-consumption society is driven less by competition with others than by their own hedonistic pleasure.
Hyperconsumerism has been also said to have religious characteristics, and have been compared to a new religion which enshrines consumerism above all, with elements of religious life being replaced by consumerist life: (going to) churches replaced by (going to) shopping malls, saints replaced by celebrities, penance replaced by shopping sprees, desire for better life after death replaced by desire for better life in the present, and so on. Mark Sayers notes that hyperconsumerism has commercialized many religious symbols, giving an example of religious symbols worn as jewelry by non-believers.
Hyperconsumerism has been associated with cultural homogenization, globalization, Eurocentrism, Eurocentric modernizations, and consequently, the spread of Western culture. It has been blamed for environmental problems owing to excessive use of limited resources. It is seen as a symptom of overdevelopment.
- Conspicuous consumption
- Consumption (economics)
- Keeping Up with the Joneses
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