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Teresa Klimowicz
Rene Girard and the Genealogy of Consumerism


The paper focuses on consumerism as an effect of globalisation. The author’s analysis presents the issue using Rene Girard’s concept of mimetic desire and the “triangle of the desire” and places it in the context of network society (using Castells’s term). Rene Girard’s idea of imitated desire points to the roots of our aspirations, which are not spontaneous, but come from indirect needs. There are three elements of desire: the subject, the object and the mediator (rival) of the desire. The contemporary process of globalisation enlarges the field of our desires, needs and envy. It widens the spectrum of different imitations and compares comparisons. The consumer therefore is the product of globalisation process and its main beneficiary.

The envy that appears as a result of those comparisons changes our relation to each other and creates reification and disdain for other persons. At the same time ‘liquid postmodernity’ increases the outcomes of globalisation process, the disposable interactions slowly replace our mutual commitment. On the other hand, we need those disposable Others for self-constitution and our personal identity persistence.

In this paper, a stance on the contemporary consumerism and its routs will be presented, with the special stress on the consumer’s relation to the Others and the world as a whole.

Teresa Klimowicz is a PhD student at the Department of Philosophy and Sociology, Maria Curie–Sklodowska University of Lublin, Poland.  She obtained her philosophy master thesis titled: Disdain as Social and Cultural Interaction (2006) at the Department of Philosophy and Sociology, and also history master thesis titled: Jacek Kuron- attitude to the communist system (2007) at the Department of History.

Her current interest is exclusion, its routs and goals from philosophical perspective, especially focused on the identity formation problem.


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