The Idea of Luxury
A Conceptual and Historical Investigation
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Published:16th Jun '94
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This book analyses the idea of luxury, shows how its evaluative meaning has changed, and explores its role in the determination of social order.
In this far-ranging and innovative study Christopher Berry explores the meanings and ramifications of the idea of luxury, and suggests that the value attached to luxury is a crucial component in any society's self-understanding.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 utilised 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. His analytic focus upon the interplay between the notions of need and desire suggests that luxuries fall into four categories - sustenance, shelter, clothing and leisure - and these are exemplified in sources as diverse as classical philosophy and contemporary advertising.
Berry's monograph, written throughout with great clarity, provides keys to an understanding of the origins of these contemporary issues. His research will prove useful to historians of ideas and also to specialists in ethics, legal philosophy, economics and politics. The Oyster Club, The Scottish Journal of Philosophy
Dimensions: 234mm x 154mm x 18mm