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This is a sad case of when an academic reaches the stage in late career when they simply reproduce ever more repetitive versions of earlier work.
Consumption and Its Consequences barely update the author's earlier work, for example his 1996 Theory of Shopping and the chapter in which green consumption choices are explored as a question of taste practice and concerns over personal health. Here also the ethics of consumption is set up as a contrast- between domestic responsibilities for family provisioning, against which considerations of ethical consumption will take second place. Morality is therefore analysed as domestic and kin oriented rather than as a broader idea of citizenship.
This book does very little to build upon that earlier work other than adding much pontificating by the author in what seems like an anxious bid throughout the book to assert his particular claim to, and authority on, the subject of ethical consumption. Constant references to the fact he purchases green and blacks chocolate etc are fascinating examples of taste practice, but in the case of this book, are part of a general slew of biographical information which seems extraneous, more revealing of the author's anxieties than elucidating the general analysis .
The book serves to reproduce a simplistic version of dialectical materialism trading on the idea prevalent in Miller's broader work that consumption is often conflated with a deterministic vision of global capitalism and therefore "materialism" is seen as a trope for social evils. In his attempt to unpick the complexities of ethical consumption he simply reverts to older ideas grounded in humanism, and the book ends up a mish mash of ill thought through Hegelian philosophy and personal opinion.
The dialogue is painfully stilted (what were the editors at Polity Press thinking when they allowed this through!). The dialogue here is so gauche and filled with stereotypes of accommodating, sotto-voiced female "southern country" producers and centre left or radical left leaning white males that it would be almost laughable if it weren't written with such a serious subtext of academic positioning.
This book adds very little to the author's previous work or indeed to the debate on ethical consumption in general. Students would do better to look at serious work by authors such as James G Carrier if they want to further their understanding of both philosophical debates as well as grounded ethnographic studies of ethical consumption. Miller's books present a simplified version of material culture studies for first year undergraduates as well as students from other disciplines that find them an easy alternative (a kind of bluffers guide) to some of the more complex debates in anthropology. The problem with this is that for the more serious scholar, these books contain very little that is more in depth, speaks to the debates within material culture studies, or which provide fresh perspectives.