1). The innovative ways of using mass-production goods are conceptualized as 'styles' which are expressive of the individualities/identities of the users. In the construction of lifestyles, the use-value of an object of consumption is secondary to the object's signifying effects, to its 'sign-value', organized around what Hebdige calls, 'a theology of appearances' (1993:89, p.1). Within this cultural politics, beyond the individual styles, social collectives are deemed to be constituted of a 'series of narrowly defined markets, targets, consumption, taste and status groups' (Hebdige 1999, p. 1).
The concept of identity is useful for conceptualizing interrelations between tastes, social and organizational factors, and consumption. Anthony Giddens (1991, p.37) pointed out that in typical societies, lifestyles, social roles, relationships, and daily activities were monitored by religion, ascribed status, and accepted practices. Post-modernism created more scope for people to establish their own identities by adopting lifestyles, self-manifestations, and self-concepts that have symbols, pleasures, and values significant to them. In this situation, consumption plays a crucial and defining role: given the fragmentation of socioeconomic life, observable aspects such as clothing, the type of vehicle, place of residence, and eating and drinking habits provide compact signals of how one wants to be seen, what resources one commands, and what one's values are. (Dolfsma 1999, 1993:88).
SHOPPING AS A CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
The retail sector as a whole has been studied through analyses of 'shopping' as a social, cultural and economic activity (Falk and Campbell 1997), of shopping mall as a location of consumption of dreams and hopes, helped by architectural designs and display technologies, and of the interactions between the sales-person and customers in closing the sale (Peretz 1995).
Consumer desires have been prompted by exposure to the possessions and lifestyles of a reference group. The reference group is a comparison group located nearby in the social hierarchy. In Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, the Pierre Bourdieu discovered a striking regularity in French consumer patterns in the 1960s and 1970s. Bourdieu discovered that a person's educational level and father's occupation revealed much about that individual's taste in music and art, what kinds of shops they patronized, and the type of cooking they did. In the