Consumerist lifestyles in the context of globalization: investigating scenarios of homogenization, diversification and hybridization

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The unsustainability of contemporary consumerist lifestyles is inextric-ably linked with debates on culture and globalization. The emergence of the new middle classes within newly industrializing countries displays paradigmatically such complex interrelations. The article argues that debates on the globalization of lifestyle arise along three opposing perspectives epitomized under the notions of homogenization, diversification and hybridization. Each account defines different processes, objects and structures as paramount for the comprehension of socio-cultural globalization. Inasmuch as sustainable development together with resource-intensive lifestyles refers to a multi-level problem the article seeks to review the strengths and shortcomings of each perspective in this regard. The conclusion is drawn, that differences concerning the trajectory of globalization result from different concepts of culture underlying each argument. The conclusion is drawn, that a complex understanding of cultural globalization processes requires an integrative view that captures the dialectical character of globalization, which likewise comprises structural as well as actor-and agency-oriented processes. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe new middle classes : globalizing lifestyles, consumerism and environmental concern
EditorsHellmuth Lange, Lars Meier
Number of pages16
Place of PublicationDordrecht [u.a.]
PublisherSpringer Science+Business Media
Publication date01.01.2009
ISBN (print)978-1-4020-9937-3
ISBN (electronic)978-1-4020-9938-0
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2009