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The Economy of Pompeii$
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Miko Flohr and Andrew Wilson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786573

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198786573.001.0001

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Consumer Behaviour in Pompeii

Consumer Behaviour in Pompeii

Theory and Evidence

Chapter:
(p.87) 3 Consumer Behaviour in Pompeii
Source:
The Economy of Pompeii
Author(s):

Nick M. Ray

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198786573.003.0004

This chapter explores the possibilities of applying consumer theory to the Pompeian archaeological record. The chapter starts with a discussion of ways in which consumption can be theorized, introducing concepts like ‘taste’, ‘reference groups’, and ‘consumerism’. Ray then goes on to use a set of statistical tools to analyse assemblages of everyday domestic artefacts found in a selected number of Pompeian houses, particularly focusing on metal, glass, and pottery vessels. The analysis highlights not only the fact that a wide range of artefacts was available to Pompeii, but also that different households of comparable socio-economic status followed differing consumption strategies, suggesting that a modern-sounding concept like ‘consumerism’ may actually be of use in understanding Pompeii’s consumer economy.

Keywords:   artefacts, consumerism, consumption, glass, metal, Pompeii, pottery vessels

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