Textbook Notes (368,241)
Canada (161,733)
CMN2173 (7)
Chapter 1


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Michael Strangelove

THE CODES OFADVERTISING – READING SUMMARIES PREFACE - Four major epochs in advertising form and content explored throughout the text. - Analysis of cultural role that good play as satisfiers and communicators. - Advertising is a conversion and interaction of:  Media  Industry  Popular Culture - Material social relationship of advanced capitalism - Symbolic dimensions of needing and culture and economic dynamic of capital accumulation are symbiotically intertwined. - Exploration of person-object relationship. INTRODUCTION: FUNDAMENTALSAND STARTING POINTS People and Things - Advertising structures mass-media content, plays key role in the construction of gender identity. - Advertising is part of a specific concern with the marketing of goods. It is a discourse through and about objects – more specifically, the relationship between people and object. - All societies are based on the use of nature by humans. - “Objectification” – objectify ourselves to a material world. Making things from what surrounds us integral part of our lives.  Distinctive human experience – mediation of human need through objects. - Things need people, but humans need things. - Because of this, advertising deals with one of the fundamental aspects of human behaviour. Use, symbol and power - Debate:  Tool used by producers to control and manipulate consumers to want things they don’t need?  Creation of the demand is necessary because of mass-production via capitalism. To avoid depression in economy, manufacturers have to ensure consumption of what is produced. - Advertising creates false needs in people to satisfy the needs of manufacturers. - Ewen: to create more want for product, stress moved to relationship between people and products – integration of the consumer, making consuming a social status/symbolic meaning. - We are not sensibly materialist – the product by itself is not enough – rather, there is a cultural pattern where we must also validate these objects by associating social and personal meaning to them. - Two points (valid and problematic):  Modern capitalism associates meaning to consumption of goods.  Without advertising + ‘sensibly materialistic’ society, goods would only be seen for their utility. - “Commodity vision” – capitalist commodity not yet separated from problem of objects. - It is important to note the context not only of power in the person-object relationship, but also the culture and history behind it. Williams has forgotten to take this into consideration. - L’art pour l’art – advertising using this as a defense in context of symbolism. - Symbolism keeps the audience interested. (Levitt) Goods and social communication - Traditional economic thought:  Materialism (subsistence)  Envy (competitive display) - Goods are needed for visible categorization in culture. - Rituals serve to contain the drift of meaning  They are more effective when tied to material things (rather than verbal form). - Markers of social categories. This is framed by social power:  Cultural relations  Economic relation - Subsistence vs. Prestige economy:  Subsistence: food, clothing, shelter – easy to obtain  Prestige: socially scarce goods, less available.  With ritual, turns material values into abstract values of prestige, reputation, and status. - Contextualization of goods in a symbolic/material field  Stabilize existing organisation of social power.  Control of social knowledge  Symbolic processes are always played out in contexts of power. The capitalist market and goods - Goods are  Communicators (about social ideas and power)  Satisfiers (of human needs) - Sahlins – totemism & Levi-Strauss  Universal cultural tendency to divide nature into different groups of species – correlate them with differentiations in society.  Modern society substitute objects for species. • Exchange and consumption = means of communicating totemic order.  Nature has been domesticated; society has not been liberated from natural-material basis. - Advertising gives goods their symbolic aspect.  It makes goods ‘communicators’. - Commodity-form no longer dominant, sign-form is more prevalent.  “Systematic manipulation of signs” within broader behavioural code.  Objects are less associated with their practical use, more with the material correlate (signifier) - Consumption is capitalism’s method of control (over demand and socialization) via the code.  Achieved via control of symbolic code  Commodities can be given any meaning. • Market is the center of new code monopoly. The paradox of affluence commodities and satisfaction - Consumption is a social activity (Veblen)  “Conspicuous consumption” – to describe ceremonial nature.  Based and judged by society  Relative, not an absolute. • Thus, relative satisfaction. • Satisfaction is an average standard. o Numbers above and below stay consta
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