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Lecture 8

SOSC 1040 - Lecture 8 Notes

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York University
Social Science
SOSC 1040
Claudio Colaguori

SOSC 1040 Nov 8, 2012 Consumer Culture and “The Culture Industry”  Recent stages of human culture: - pre-industrial age; ppl tied to basic mode of existence; ppl encouraged to save $, buy things carefully that last for a long time - industrial culture (mechanization of society); machines to replace labour (but ppl became enslaved to labour); exchanged labour for wages to buy provisions to live  mechanization: commodities produced on a mass scale (not handmade); created power to mass produce  problem: mass consumptionhow to sell all this stuff? How to get them to buy more than they need? (Difference b/t wants and needs) - media culture – capitalist consumer culture  Mass media cultivates and conveys to us “consumerism” - Part of the social construction of reality (not a natural path) - Is the product of intensive planning and design – through advertising, marketing and value system changes to popular culture - consumers take pleasure in buying commodities; everything centers around commodity  Modern communicative media supports a particular way of life that boosts commodity consumption on a mass scale.  How to change the attitudes of ppl from frugality to consumerism?  Major shift in society from a life of working, earning and saving to a mass- production/mass-consumption way of life  The new order of consumer society: based on a pattern of „creation and destruction‟ - Destruction of natural resources; finite amount, also extracting them entails destructionwe don‟t see these consequences, just the final product - Fashion and product cycles modeled after nature (but a crass model), largely unrecognized, but when it is it‟s hidden behind “green marketing” to make them feel better - Commodities are designed to have a termination date, so that the next one becomes current  Captains of industry (in fabrication and production) became captains of consciousness (promoting a new ideology of consumption) through the invention of “The Culture Industry”. 1 SOSC 1040 Nov 8, 2012 - Culture Industry: culture is made for the ppl and imposed on them; culture is not made by the ppl (as is traditional) - The new culture served also as a form of social control even though it was presented in advertising as “freedom, leisure, happiness etc”: - “high standard of living” being able to transcend class and social status barriers a positive effect - to not have things is uncivilized; underdeveloped - changed our desires, wants and bhvr - working class ppl can mimic the rich by looking rich; how commodities have value to ppl: have symbolic value (social status); no longer just about the use value of item - practice of spending: credit = new way of profit; allowed ppl to spend $ they didn‟t have, to working class ppl radical b/c could never borrow $ before  Global spread of corporations & consumerism  Consumer culture dictates our desires and wants and tastes, our culture.  Destruction: monolithic reproduction of social space to facilitate consumerism (same cities in different geographic locations); eliminates cultural uniqueness - Corporate control of things, so that the consumer doesn‟t get to see a lot of the music, or food, or etc b/c of the corporate monopoly o
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