Sociology Index

CONSUMER CULTURE

Books on Consumer Culture, Fashion Culture, Popular Culture

Consumer culture is about what we consume, and the way in which we consume goods and services provided in economic markets. Consumer culture has come to represent our identities. Consumer culture mediates our interactions with others and even shape our politics. Advanced capitalist societies are characterized by a consumer culture.

Consumer Culture Abstracts:

Perspectives on Consumer Culture - Mike Featherstone 
Three accounts of consumer culture are discussed in this paper. The first account of consumer culture, the production of consumption perspective, presents the consumer culture which develops around the accumulation of commodities as leading to greater manipulation and control.

The second account of consumer culture, the mode of consumption perspective, focuses upon the way in which goods are variably used to create distinctions and reinforce social relationships.

The third consumer culture perspective examines the emotional and aesthetic pleasures, the desires and dreams generated within particular sites of consumption and by consumer culture imagery.

In addition the paper discusses the alleged tendencies towards cultural disorder and de-classification within consumer culture which some refer to as postmodernism.

Chicano Lite - Mexican-American consumer culture on the border 
Howard Campbell, University of Texas at El Paso
This article is an ethnography of working-class, Mexican-American consumer patterns on the US-Mexico border. Through a study of locally-owned grocery stores, family parties and fast-food restaurants in El Paso, Texas, I examine the double-edged nature of border consumerism. I show how, despite their subordinated class and status positions in US society, Mexican-Americans create spaces of resistant cultural meaning within consumer spheres normally treated as generically (Anglo-) American. US consumer culture is both a source of self-fulfilment and a means through which Mexican-Americans become further enmeshed in a system of vastly unequal political and economic power.

The Rise of Consumer Culture in a Chinese Society: A Reading of Banking Television Commercials in Hong Kong During the 1970s - Wendy Siuyi Wong, Department of Communication Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University
In this article, I analyze 2 case studies of television advertising campaigns for banking services during the 1970s and early 1980s in Hong Kong, those of Hang Seng Bank and HongkongBank. Advertising from this period saw consumer society emerge as traditional values and themes were adjusted to fit the imperatives of capitalism. The earlier Hang Seng Bank campaign focused on the traditional banking practice of saving, encouraging customers to work hard and gradually accumulate wealth. The later HongkongBank campaign encouraged spending, immediate gratification of material desires, and symbolic communications achieved through acquisition of goods.

From Counterculture to Consumer Culture: Vespa and the Italian youth market, 1958-78 
Adam Arvidsson, University of East Anglia 
This article contributes to an analysis of the origins of contemporary post-modern consumer culture, centred on the notion of lifestyle choice. Although the Vespa had become an icon of the international youth culture already at the beginning of this period, it is argued that Piaggio's advertising agency did not appropriate the counterculture on account of its quantitative importance. Rather, countercultural attachments were mobilized and made part of Piaggio's advertising discourse first when they harmonized with visions for a future 'postmaterialistic' consumer society harboured by advertising professionals. They subsequently used new techniques of market research, like motivation research, to translate such countercultural attachments into a consumer culture centred on individual self-realization rather than collective rebellion. In the 1970s, it is argued, this new consumer culture was transformed into what is now known as 'life-style consumerism'.

Consumer Culture and the Culture of poverty: Implications for Marketingtheory and Practice 
Ronald Paul Hill, University of Portland 
This paper explores the influence of the larger material culture on consumers living within the culture of poverty so that the scholarly community mightbetter understand the actual as well as potential role marketing plays in the lives of the poor.

Marketing Sadism: Super-Cannes and Consumer Culture 
James Fitchett, Exeter University, UK
This article examines the possibilities and futures of consumer society and the progression of a post-moral marketing paradigm through a critical review of J.G. Ballard’s Super-Cannes.

What is new in the ‘south’? Consumer culture and the vicissitudes of poor youth’s identity construction in urban Brazil 
Lucia Rabello De Castro, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 
This study analyses the specificities of youth identity construction in Brazil in the context of global transformations and the particularities of the Brazilian model of development. Poor urban Brazilian youngsters’ demands to consume, as a ‘mode of inclusion’ in society, achieve short-term gains that narrow down prospective visions of the self. A ‘logic of survival’ hypothesis is proposed to account for the process of identity construction whereby encapsulated and rigid, rather than hybridized and creative, identities are constituted. The hypothesis is illustrated with a discussion of the cases of the drug dealer, the religious fanatic and the labourer. New cultural forms of consumer culture also convey claims for recognition and justice, shown by the musical expressions coming from the peripheries of big cities.

Shopping Malls, Consumer Culture and the Reshaping of Public Space in Egypt 
Mona Abaza 
Egypt witnessed in the last decade, as in many Southeast Asian mega-cities, the reshaping of public space through the creation of new shopping malls and recreation places. This went hand in hand with the 'urban gentrification' of certain areas of the city of Cairo, which is continuing at the expense of pushing away the poor. The 1980s and 1990s also witnessed increasing prosperity among certain classes and the appropriation of new consumer lifestyles. This article attempts to look at the variations of shopping malls in Cairo and the new phenomenon of hybridization of tastes. One can observe the creation of `chic' shopping malls functioning parallel to popular and working-class malls which are frequented by different classes, depending on the various districts of Cairo.

Consumer Culture, Islam and the Politics of Lifestyle: Fashion for Veiling in Contemporary Turkey - Baris Kilicbay, Muta Binark, Gazi University, Turkey 
The practice of veiling has been chosen to explore how religious iconography is changing to reflect new patterns of consumption and pleasure, and the ways in which these changes are occurring. The authors focus on the shifting meanings of the practice of veiling due to the articulation of Islamic faith into consumer culture, as evidenced in advertising images and commentaries taken from Islamic women's magazines, and fashion catalogues of major Islamic clothing companies.

Consumer Culture and the Commodification of Policing and Security 
Ian Loader 
I argue that the commodification of policing and security can fruitfully be theorised and investigated in terms of the spread of consumer culture, a contention that I demonstrate in three (related) ways. I begin by examining how a culture of consumption is pervading the practices and rhetoric of the public police and outlining the impact of 'consumerism' on lay sensibilities towards policing. I then set out some prevailing trends in the consumption of protective services and hardware and consider the effects of a burgeoning `security market' on the construction of authority, subjectivity and social relations. Finally, I detail a number of possible points of resistance to the spread of commercially-delivered policing and security and argue that these provide both some potential cultural limits to the extension of a consumer culture or consumer attitude in this field, and a space within which to think about, and develop, modes of policing shaped by citizens acting in a democratic polity rather than consumers operating in the market.

The punitive consequences of consumer culture 
Barry Vaughan, Institute of Public Administration, Dublin, Ireland 
This article takes as its starting point a public punitiveness that is novel in its lack of sympathy for and stridency against offenders. It is suggested that this punitiveness can be partly explained by the ascent of consumerism as an axial principle of life today. The ideas of Ren´┐Ż Girard are used to elaborate upon this suggestion. Girard argues that disputes emerge within consumer cultures when there are no public prohibitions on consumption.

"You're a Guaranteed Winner": Composing "You" in a Consumer Culture 
Helen Rothschild Ewald, Roberta Vann, Iowa State University, 
This article explores the functional elegance of direct mail as it con structs its target audience. More specifically, it examines direct mail ings included in a nationally publicized court case involving Publish ers' Clearing House and articulates how the use of particular genre-based, rhetorical and linguistic strategies in these mailings con struct reader identity.

Globalized consumer culture: Its implications for social justice and practice teaching in social work - Besthorn, Fred H.
The Journal of Practice Teaching in Health and Social Work, Volume 5, Number 3, 2004, pp. 20-39(20)
Abstract: Globalised consumer culture and its corresponding ethos that accumulation of material possessions equates to happiness are having a profound impact on the physical, social and emotional health of human beings.

POSTMODERN CONSUMER CULTURE WITHOUT POSTMODERNITY: COPYING THE CRISIS OF SIGNIFICATION 
Kang M.K. - Cultural Studies , Volume 13, Number 1, 1 January 1999, pp. 18-33(16)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to interpret the meaning of the postmodern discourse produced by Korean television advertisements, by categorizing postmodern television advertisements and describing their representations andimages of reality indetail. Considering the production process of Korean postmodern advertisements, the study raised a question: How can we interpret the phenomena of imitating and assimilating the style of advertisements from the reservoir of postmodern signifiers, while not taking into account the values, ideas and ways of thinking implicit in such advertisements? There are two ways of interpretation. First, it would be an effect of structural dependence, in which postmodern consumer cultural forms are replicated and replace local products with mass-produced goods. The narratives of postmodern advertisements serve as the catalyst to introduce these advertisements and to teach the grammar of international advertising. Second, the assimilation of postmodern advertisements in Korean television means a newly emergent hybrid culture.

Culture, Consumption, and Adult Education: Refashioning Consumer Education for Adults as a Political Site Using a Cultural Studies Framework 
Jennifer A. Sandlin, Texas A&M University, jsandlin@coe.tamu.edu 
The field of adult education exists within a context of consumer capitalism, although adult educators have failed to acknowledge how central consumption is to today’s society. Traditional consumer education has typically focused on technical skills, and thus positions itself outside the social, political, and cultural realms. The author retheorizes consumer education into a more critical enterprise using the framework of cultural studies. She argues that consumer education is a political site that creates consumers with a range of reactions to consumer culture. From this perspective, consumer education for adults is reconceived to include a variety of informal sites of learning including those focusing on curbing consumption, fighting consumer capitalism, and "jamming" corporate-sponsored consumer culture.

Theories of Overindebtedness: Interaction of Structure and Culture 
JEAN BRAUCHER, University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law 
Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 06-04, Theoretical Inquiries in the Law, 2006 
Abstract: Consumer bankruptcy scholars typically stress either a structural or a cultural account of individuals' problems with debt. The interaction of structure and culture has practical policy implications. Structural changes such as interest-rate deregulation inevitably transform both business and consumer culture. Policies designed to create a different consumer culture will have a hard time when pitted against strong structural causes of overindebtedness.