10.14 Lecture Notes - Fashion as a Collective Behavior.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 148
Professor
Rob Beamish

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10/14/2013 FASHION AS A COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOR? CRAZE means “to become insane:” CB considers fads/ fashion as a form of “craze” (crazy) wherein participants seek to fulfill “irrational wish fantasies” reflective of a mass society in which high levels of status strain link with generalized beliefs about success/failure that serve to motivate personal/ collective participation Fads and fashions can be considered kind of dangerous because they reflect manipulation The insanity reflects radical wish fulfillment – makes you crazy because in contemporary society, you don’t really know who you are (because your status is fluid) You’re not sure who you are so you have a great deal of strain on what it is Because we’re not given a status at birth Anomie, strain which connects to generalized beliefs about being connected and revered in society These become dangerous because they reflect a loss of perspective 1. Panics 2. Crazes 3. Hostile outbursts 4. Norm-oriented movements 5. Value-oriented movements Explaining Collective ‘Craze’ Behavior Smelser’s value model explains fads/ fashions craze behavior reflecting societal strain that also served to vent frustration and stress through participation 1. Structural Conduciveness = The basic societal condition underlying craze behavior is highly differentiated groups and strata within a mass society i.e., rich, middle, and poor, high status, moderate status, low status, etc; who must live side by side) factors that contribute: location, communication, status distinctions, ability to express our differences (social sanctions around difference, in-group and out-group) societies that have statuses that are given at birth do not have some of these 2. Status Strain / status anxiety = Status Anxiety reflects mass society not providing a status based on tradition or convention; we are, supposedly, what we make of ourselves… choice and an open future promote uncertainty and therefore strain… a way of venting (no more angst of wanting to be who you want to be) the flexibility promotes anxiety status conscious  material goods, fads, fashions Simmel and Bevlin 3. Shared beliefs: shared beliefs and wish fulfillment = crazes reflect widely shared beliefs and personal wish fulfillment fantasies that are not just about fitting in, but also about being recognized and rewarded for greatness “if I can only have it, everything will be fine” “I’ve got to have it!” 4. Trigger/ Mobilization to action = Mobilization (The call to action and therefore collective mobilization occurs via networks of like-minded persons and via the media (fashion houses, manufacturers, retailers) in which wish-fulfillment fantasies and consumption circulate and saturate mass society… a trigger that sponsors mobilization where marketing and advertising is key / “trigger agencies” – trigger you to mobilize takes peer groups, media, marketers, demagogues, leaders to participate, you to motivate you 5. Role of social control (not directly applicable to this instance) Mass social venting Finally, crazes also supply an important venting mechanism for societal strain… An authentic process Triggered by negative social aspects (taking advantage of insecurities) Fads/ fashions: A. Supplies wish fulfillment B. Supplies a venting mechanism HUMAN DISTINCTION AND BELONGING While much research and theory has moved away from a view of fads and fashion as “mindless craze behavior” hey do seem to reflect deep desires and emotion that can generate some pretty amazing collective behavior! KAISER on “Fashion and Postmodernity” Collective behavioralist model used, but gotten rid of the idea that they’re dangerous 10/14/2013 FRONTLINE: Complex world of buying and selling cool… 10/14/2013 THE ELEMENTS OF COOL 150 billion dollar dream Teenagers = target of magazines and advertisers The most studied generation in history Know what they’re thinking and feeling Downtown NY – corporate America is on a very serious mission 5 boys questioned about what they wear, eat, listen to and watch - $125 each Tell me some things that are really big right now, really “hot” right now 32 million – largest generation of teenagers ever last yr, teens spent more than a hundred billion dollars and another 50 billion on top of that innate feeling of moms and dads to keep the teen happy, to keep the teen home teens given a lot of “guilt money” – market researcher here’s some money, why don’t you go buy yourself something nice A walk in the street may as well be a stroll through the mall Everywhere you go, there’s a marketing message Over 3 thousand advertisements in a single day 10/14/2013 Massive qualities of entertainment media – 75% have a tv, 1/3 have a computer (avg. of over 2 hrs/ day online) Most marketed to group of teens in the world Teen marketing executive – recognize what they’re thinking and feeling, you’re gonna lose What is cool anyway? – “cool hunting” (New Yorker Magazine) Search for a given type of personality, a certain type of player in a given social network A revolution that sets that earlier paradigm aside Instead has to do w/ influence of those who have respect, admiration, and trust of their friends Look for kids who are ahead of the pack (the 20%, trendsetters that are gonna influence the other 80%) Trusting people’s instincts Deedee Gordon is a sought after cool hunter Demands high feels as a consultant to some of the largest corporations in America Her business – “Looklook” – Team of correspondents that are culture spies “correspondents” – all young, all former cool kids themselves “culture spies” : penetrate regions of teen landscape where marketing regions aren’t welcome correspondent trained to find a certain kind of kid – called a “trendsetter”, “early adopter”, looks outside their own backyard for inspiration, who are a leader within their own group, who is very forward-thinking these kids are difficult to find corresponds find, interview, get them interested in what we do, we compile it, look for trends and themes that are happening 10/14/2013 cool hunting kills what it finds as soon as marketers reveal it, the more you force them to move on and find the next cool “you can’t ever solve the puzzle permanently” “by discovering cool, you force cool to move on to the next thing” identify, interview people, look at it, compile it, look at trends/ themes and put it on website 20 thousand each, companies are granted access to looklook website if companies can get in on a trend while it is still underground, they can be the first ones to bring it to market that’s when the mass consumer picks up on it, runs with it, and eventually kills it as soon as marketers discover cool, it stops being cool = paradox of cool hunting (kills what it finds) Looklook website: teen culture exposed Kids begin to see marketers as the enemy so the marketers become cool themselves Marketers look to become cool themselves (ex: Sprite) Teens had seen so much advertising that they were on overload Discredit the marketers and let viewers think that the brand understands them Eventually, kids figure things out Got wise to anti-marketing marketing campaign Used hip hop culture to sell to kids 10/14/2013 “selling a lifestyle” – why sprite is successful in terms of reaching youth hip hop became the vehicle for Sprite to get to teens by developing relationships w/ artists they were selling the fact that they understood the culture Cornerstone’s specialty was under-the-radar marketing Ex: hires kids to pose as fans of another one of their celebrity clients in chat rooms, hire freshmen to throw parties where they pass out promotional material to their classmates Cornerstone hires kids to pose as a plan of one of their clients throw parties to pass out promotional material to their classmates Cornerstone helps sprite smuggle their message into the campaign of kids “think how they think,” “understand where their coming from” Sprite threw a party – Sprite and hip hop had become one in the same (“each carrying one another to its audience”) Associated w/ hip hop Ultimate marriage of a corporation and a culture Is it nostalgic to think that when we were young it was any different? That the thing we called youth culture wasn’t something that was just being sold to us was something that came from us? An act of expression not just of consumption? Has that boundary been completely erased? 5 enormous companies are responsible for selling all of youth culture: AOL time warner, Disney, etc. Same companies own all the film studios, all the tv networks, they own all/ part of every single commercial channel 10/14/2013 The entertainment companies own all the film studiios, all the major tv networks, they own all or part of every single commercial cable channel They look at the teen market as part of this massive empire that their colonizing Weaponry: films, books, CDs, amusement parks, songs, sports teams, and such; all used as weaponry off of this market VIACOM (coolest) MTV use music videos as a part of music programming MTV launched 20 yrs ago with a simple but brilliant commercial concept = use record companies commercial music videos as creative programming Since then, it was grown into a youth marketing empire Its basic business model has remained the same “everything in MTV is a commercial” sometimes it’s an explicit advertisement, sometimes its going to be a video for a music company there to sell music, sometimes to sell the products on that set, sometimes it will be a show about an upcoming movie paid for by the studio to hype up a movie set filled with trendy clothes – to sell the clothes, to sell the song, to sell the prod
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