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Sociology 2172A/B
Gale Cassidy

Consumption and Advertising Consumption: The Paradoxical Phenomenon - Commodification as the most personal of issues: self-esteem, values, and relationships can be commodified, advertised and sold - Also treated in moral terms, as something good for self expression, individual development, or a reward for hard work. o At the same time can be regard as wasteful unethical, or a bottomless desire for objects - Taxes become the embodiment of moral punishment - Can also be considered a process of victimization o Consumer easily falls for the advertiser’s allure. o They can package a product into the solution to personal problems or create commodity images in association with personal emotions, value and relationships that camouflage the real demand for commercial interest The Marist Perspective on Production and Consumption - from a structural point of view - not about individual taste, purchasing power or freedom - Consumption and production at 3 levels o First, raw materials immediate available for production o Second, production and consumption constitute a mediated relation because of their mutual dependence  Production is a means for consumption and consumption the purpose of production o Third, consumption and production completes and creates itself as the other, and each feeds off the other as an expression of supply and demand  Supply can become useless if the material object is not used or consumed. - Consumption becomes the modern form of justification for running and maintaining capitalism in order to seek endless profit through satisfying the unsatisfied material needs - Consumption for the worker is understood at two levels o First, it is productive consumption that turns labour purchased by capital into the process of production o Second, it is individual consumption, an offering to the workers as reward for their work - Converted into means of subsistence to ensure the continuation of productive consumption from capitalist Georg Simmel on Fashion and Urban Life - Georg Simmel sees fashion, commodities, and consumption as the sites where modern individuals strive to stay autonomous against universal social forces, and where individualism take shapes in urban life - Fashion gives satisfaction as one moves between individuality and conformity - Consumption as mediation between the social and the individual is manifested in urban life itself o Consumption by the wealthy can receive considerable recognition in the public, and it boundlessly sets bench marks of value in both material and psychological terms o Urban life, saturated by the money economy, makes one indifferent because it stimulates one’s emotional reactivity too strongly and for too long to allow any further reaction o City dwellers might no longer feel sympathy for the poor in the land of plenty Leisure Class, Gender and Conspicuous Consumption - Thorstein Veblen, consider consumption as the social force that makes social class possible and as the site of struggle for individualism o Second, attention not the working class or proletariat in the Marximist tradition, nor the interaction and imitation between social classes outlined by Simmel. - Argues that the advancement of modern society, propelled by capitalist expansion, is accompanied by the rise of middle or leisure class defined by the practices of consumption as opposed to those of production - Leisure class: The occupations of the class are correspondingly diversified but they have the common economic characteristics of being non industrial - Rising leisure class manifested social status with accumulated wealth and conspicuous consumption o Conspicuous consumption refers to consumption patterns prompted by the symbolic significance more than material utility  In with the new out with the old  Wastefulness and idleness  Pursuit of social status through unnecessary material goods or lavish entertaining Classical Sociology of Consumption: The Limitation - Oversimplified when viewed in our contemporary context Cultural Capital and Social Class - Pierre Bourdieu, argument starts with the recognition of taste as both personal and social, because taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier. o Taste facilitates individual dis
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