and framework, as used by both its apologists and critics, has obscured the middle ground – between the individual consumer and society – and made it difficult to develop what Robert Merton called ‘middle-level’ explanations. What we need is a much better understanding of the processes which connect forms of production and consumption, studies that attend to consumer politics, both in the sense of the role of regulatory bodies and systems of law and of consumers acting collectively, a far more subtle and complex understanding of the contested and contradictory meanings of consumption practices, which include the self-understanding of the consumer, and a stronger sense of the relationship and distinction between consumerism and consumption. Lest you as an audience find me guilty this evening of delivering a jeremiad, let me say that I think that these sorts of investigation are now truly under way, and that thankfully we have begun to move beyond the consumer society debate. Its always fashionable to be post something. I just hope that we are post –consumer society.