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The Idea of Luxury

The Idea of Luxury
A Conceptual and Historical Investigation

$29.99 (G)

Part of Ideas in Context

  • Date Published: June 1994
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521466912

$ 29.99 (G)
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  • In this far-ranging and innovative study Christopher Berry explores the meanings and ramifications of the idea of luxury. Insights from political theory, philosophy and intellectual history are utilized in a sophisticated conceptual analysis that is complemented by a series of specific historical investigations. Dr. Berry suggests that the value attached to luxury is a crucial component in any society's self-understanding, and shows how luxury has changed from being essentially a negative term, threatening social virtue, to a guileless ploy supporting consumption.

    • The first comprehensive analysis of the idea of luxury and its role in the determination of social order
    • Uses a wide range of data from Plato to contemporary advertising
    • A wide-ranging study relevant to history, political theory, philosophy and the social sciences
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "...he makes a strong, trenchantly argued case for the indispensability of the category of luxury to any society's self-understanding." Robert Anchor, American Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 1994
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521466912
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 154 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Preliminary Essay:
    1. Luxury goods
    Part II. The Classical Paradigm:
    2. The platonic prelude
    3. The Roman response
    4. The Christian contribution
    Part III. The Transition to Modernity:
    5. The de-moralisation of luxury
    6. The eighteenth-century debate
    7. The historicity of needs
    Part IV. Politics, Needs and Desires:
    8. Luxury and the politics of needs and desires
    9. Luxury, necessity and social identity.

  • Author

    Christopher J. Berry, University of Glasgow

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