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cmns 221 Lecture2

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CMNS 221
Stuart Poyntz

Media and Audiences – The Culture of Consumerism: Histories of ‘dream world’ and the selling of desire consumerism: is like democracy for everyone • ex. IKEA- the layout of the store is so that consumers get lost and aren’t able to find the exit • prior to 1800s – bourgeoisie: the wealthy participated in consumerism • means of expressing private happiness culture: refers to ways of life • meaning making practices • what do ppl do to entertain themselves? • What do ppl do to feel a sense of identity? 2nd half of 19 century: Markets and consumerism spread/ developed • Markets: was increasingly thought of as the site of happiness • Encourages a privatizing of how we determine our happiness • Use consumerism as new displays of self-presentations The rise of a consumer culture • Consumerism: associated with decline in the quality and character of social life • Result: development of a crass, utilitarian, empty culture • Fails to capture the complexity of consumption, the way it operates as culture, as a means of expressing identity, pleasure and social change Why Consumerism? • Consumption and the exchange of goods as historic practice • Consumerism as a unique form of social life – late 19 /early 20 th century • Rise of consumerism – extension of the capitalist mode of production • Belief that the purchase of commodities is the optimal way to address the needs and wants of individuals and to allocate social goods (Szeman, and O’Brien, 2004) • fulfill our desire of meaning Consumerism and Social Change • trains, transportation – remake the world of space and time o new sense of time o space collapses • telegraph – movement of communication across space o 1 cmn device without transportation o globalization • electric light – invest everyday life with new possibilities o new world of department store • before 20 centuries: strangers were thought of exotic outsiders • invention of moving picture and new pleasures of mobility o watching a motion in 2D – new kind of realism o imagining a world of newness and collapsing space/time relationships o power of escapism and democratization of imagination  alienation  fear – we don’t need authority figure to watch films • mass audience o language of image – emotional fore and power of propaganda  propaganda: convinced ppl to believe certain things 
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