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The institutional foundation of materialism in western societies
journal contributionposted on 2009-09-01, 00:00 authored by W Kilbourne, M Dorsch, P McDonagh, B Urien, A Prothero, M Grunhagen, Michael PolonskyMichael Polonsky, D Marshall, J Foley, A Bradshaw
Studies of materialism have increased in recent years, and most of these studies examine various aspects of materialism including its individual or social consequences. However, understanding, and possibly shaping, a society’s materialistic tendencies requires a more complete study of the relationship between a society’s institutional patterns and the acceptance of materialism by its members. Consequently, the current study examines five of the institutional antecedents of materialism to understand better how and why it develops as a mode of consumption within a society. More specifically, a model relating materialism and a set of institutionalized patterns of social behavior referred to as the dominant social paradigm was developed and tested in a study of seven industrial, market-based countries. The results suggest that the economic, technological, political, anthropocentric, and competition institutions making up the dominant social paradigm are all positively related to materialism. The implications of the relationship are then discussed.