The Theory of the Leisure Class

Author- Thorstein Veblen, American sociologist and economics, grew up with a lot of familial emphasis on education and caused resentment for “conspicuous consumption”
Context- 1899, takes place during the Gilded Age of America (economic boom that brought many immigrants from Europe)
Language- matter- of- fact language, extremely critical
Audience- became and instant success, highly praised, meant to be widely read
Intent- to shows the superficiality of the societal trend and to show the societal rift between those that can afford luxury items and those that produce the items (how that impacts class perception)
Message- criticism of how materialism of luxury goods became a symbol of wealth and of “conspicuous consumption” (displaying luxury items to maintain social status), uses dress as an example of display of goods to indicate one’s status

3 thoughts on “The Theory of the Leisure Class

  1. Solid interpretation of the Veblen’s audience and message. It is a difficult text to read due to the language, but you made an important distinction on Veblen’s thoughts on how the leisure class effects the relations in the social strata.

  2. His style of writing was certainly unique for this topic. Interestingly enough, my background research on Veblen suggested that many of his “illustrations” based on history were fictional.

  3. Solid beginning to implementing ACLAIM, but you might want to expand on your ideas a bit in the future. For instance, what do you mean by saying the language is critical? Provide textual evidence and examples.

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