Kon|sum|ter|ror der; -s: (emotional abwertend) durch die Werbung ausgeübter Druck, der den
Verbraucher zur fortgesetzten Steigerung seines Konsums antreibt. (Siehe auch Konsumzwang) Source: DUDEN - Das Fremdwörterbuch
(emotionally depreciatory) pressure exercised by advertising that drives the consumer to the continued increase of his consumption. (See also Konsumzwang - forced consumerism.)
I first came across this term when writing the article about Wolfgang Grams. When trying to translate "Konsumterror" I realised I didn't even understand it in German. So I tried looking it up in a dictionary - nothing. Oh well, "DUDEN - Die deutsche Rechtschreibung" will know - nothing. Hm. The Internet!? Google-search provided me with 2590 hits. About half of them were fan-pages for a German Punk-group called "Konsumterror". The other half used the word as if everyone just knew what it meant. There was no definition nor translation to be found.
Finally I tried looking it up in DUDEN's Fremdwörterbuch (foreign words dictionary) and it provided the above first definition. Still, I wanted to know about its history, who coined the term, who uses it, how is it used, why isn't it in the main dictionary... I then read an interview with a German professor in our university newspaper. I wrote to her asking her if she could help me. Here's her reply:
"Konsumterror" ist ein Begriff, der in der Folge der sogenannten 68er Revolution und der mit ihr verbundenen Kritik an einer rein konsumorientierten Lebensweise entstanden ist. Er bezeichnet den Druck, der in einer Komsumgesellschaft - also einer Gesellschaft, deren primäres Streben auf den Erwerb materieller Werte, auf Konsum ausgerichtet ist - durch Werbung und Umgebung (peer group) auf das Individuum ausgeübt wird, seinen Konsum ständig zu steigern. Source: Prof. Elke Hentschel
"Konsumterror" is a term, that was coined in the aftermath of the so-called 68 revolution and the connected criticism of a purely consumption-oriented way of life. "Konsumterror" designates the pressure to constantly increase ones consumption in a "Konsumgesellschaft". This pressure is exerted on the individual by advertising and environment (peer group). "Konsumgesellschaft" (consumer culture) is a society whose primary goal is aligned to the acquisition of material values, to consumerism.
I let Martin Pepper (a German pastor and Songwriter) have the last word:
"Serving Mammon opens us to worry and the fear of not getting enough (Konsumterror)." - Thanks to Oolong for bringing this to my attention. Source: http://www.gospelgemeinde.de/19990411.htm