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Economic Imaginings of Consumption in Book Retail: from a Monumental Logic to a (Passing) Political Moment?

Frost, S., 2023. Economic Imaginings of Consumption in Book Retail: from a Monumental Logic to a (Passing) Political Moment? LOGOS: The Journal of the World Book Community, 34 (2), 16-25.

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Economic Imagining of Consumption in Book Retail FINAL Pre-pub version.pdf - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1163/18784712-03104063


Far from being a conventional trade in consumer goods, with price value estimated from a relationship between demand and scarcity, book retail is saturated in the politics of class, gender, and race. To thrive, it must be alive to the promises and pitfalls of those dimensions, especially as they are imagined through reading. Therefore, to understand book retail only through institutionalized models of neoclassical economics would be a mistake. A mistake not only because book retail trades in symbolic goods, which are goods of an inherently interpretive, political, all-too-human kind, but also because symbolic goods defy foundational categories such as ‘consumption’. From a historic case study, that of book retail in Southampton around 1900, it can be shown which forces have actively sustained the book business. Revealed, too, is how economics is merely the material mathematized wing of a particular cultural-political way of thinking, one that can be broken free from without losing either business or responsibilities to race, gender, and class.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:economic imperialism; efferent reading; Southampton; book retail; symbolic goods; communities; political economy
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:37887
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:21 Dec 2022 16:36
Last Modified:04 Jan 2024 10:44


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