Sociologist Thorstein Veblen introduced the concept of conspicuous consumption in 1899 to describe the act of buying and using (and displaying) products to make a statement about social standing. This assignment fosters your understanding of stratification by putting your sociological imagination to work on critiquing consumer behavior.

STEP 1: Over a two-day period, be on the lookout for examples of conspicuous consumption that you see on display in your own environment (i.e, as possessed by actual people in real settings, and not on TV or online). Choose one that seems especially expressive or noteworthy.

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In a post of at least 200 words, describe this object first in terms of its visual or aesthetic features and then in terms of what it might be thought to symbolize in terms of status. What reasoning has to be entered into to arrive at these meanings? What frames of reference must be shared in order for these qualities and characteristics to be meaningful? What objects might be considered categorically similar but above or below this object in a particular hierarchy? To help your colleagues understand your points and then write up their responses, it might be helpful to find an image of your object (or one identical to it) and to use the text box to paste your images directly into the thread with your first post.

This activity will be graded. Your postings will be assessed for your demonstrated ability to reflect deeply, combine your personal reflection/experience with research and analysis, and draw on material from the text to contribute a variety of perspectives in the pursuit of deep learning.

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