Cultural Studies Colloquium Series with Rami Gabriel

Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 4:00pm to 6:00pm

624 S. Michigan Ave., Collins Hall, Room 602 624 S. Michigan, Chicago, IL, 60605

"Why I Buy: Self, Taste, and Consumer Society in America"

Why do we buy? How do our acts of—and ideas about—consumption impact our selves, our institutions, and our societies? An incisive response to these questions, Why I Buy explains how consumption came to give meaning and value to social and personal life. Balancing psychological, conceptual, and historical analyses with examples drawn from popular culture and mass media, Rami Gabriel traces the ways in which beliefs about the self—including dualism, individualism, and expressivism— influence consumer behavior. These understandings of the self, Gabriel argues, structure the values that Americans seek and find in consumer society; they therefore have structural consequences for our cultural, political, and economic lives.

Rami Gabriel is Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences at Columbia College Chicago. He holds a PhD and MA from the Cognitive and Perceptual Sciences Psychology Program at University of California, Santa Barbara and a Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Irvine in Psychology. His first book, Why I Buy: Self, Taste, and Consumer Society in America, has recently been published by Intellect Press UK and is being distributed in America by University of Chicago Press. Dr. Gabriel is also a founding fellow at the Columbia College Chicago Liberal Arts and Sciences Research Group in Mind, Science, and Culture (

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