A Consuming Passion

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Joanne Burgess, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2003

In our society, mass consumption is the norm and advertising is inescapable. Fashion trends and brand names offer ample evidence of the tremendous power of advertising, with its seductive invitation to consume. Shopping centres, chains and big-box stores dominate the retail market and are helping to standardize what people buy and use throughout North America, if not the entire world.

How did today's patterns of consumption and consumer culture originate? When and how did Canadians start to become modern consumers? Where and when did companies start to develop the early models for today's business practices and advertising strategies?