Deep down in the jungles of Lower Manhattan there lived in the 1980s an exotic tribe, sometimes called “the slaves of New York”. Further north along Park Avenue one entered the territory of “yuppiedom”, depicted by Tom Wolfe in his The Bonfire of the Vanities from 1987. These Manhattan subcultures have often been used to symbolize a truly postmodern way of life: a world of free-floating signs, fragments and fads, a shallow and superficial lifestyle. Here is a commodified world where things may signify anything, everything or nothing. The rise of a new interest in the cultural analysis of consumption in the eighties has of ten been linked to a postmodern cosmology with strong evolutionary or devolutionary overtones. Contemporary culture was described in terms of the birth of new kind of consumerism, a hyper-consumption. The evolutionary element is conjured up in concepts like “postmodern consumption”, “late consumer capitalism” or “advanced consumer culture”, to borrow a few phrases from an ethnography of a Pennsylvania suburb (Dorst 1989). The other side of the coin has to do with a devolutionary premise: the assumption that contemporary history is the history of a gradual but irreversible erosion of stable social identities and ways of life. Traditional forms of continuity and integration give way to a new kind of social being, who is a master of the new art of lifestyling.