Capitalism's eye: cultural spaces of the commodity

Hetherington, Kevin (2007). Capitalism's eye: cultural spaces of the commodity. London, UK: Routledge.



Capitalism's Eye is an ambitious cultural analysis exploring the ways people took possession of commodities and became subjects in the era of industrial expansion during the nineteenth century. Writing against the now dominant argument that capitalist society should be characterised as a "society of the spectacle," Kevin Hetherington offers an investigation of nineteenth century spaces of consumption that challenges the production view of the subject underlying most analyses of consumption that start with ideas of commodity fetishism and phantasmagoria. He suggests instead an alternative consumption view of the subject associated with consuming practices - expressed through the trope of taking possession of the fetish rather than simply being possessed by it. Situating his study in the signature spaces of nineteenth century modernity - the great exhibitions, the department stores, the interiors of the bourgeois home, and the museum - Hetherington opens a new vista onto our understanding of the rise of consumerism and the consuming subjects that were shaped by it.

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