[SOCIOL 120] 1012 Lecture

[SOCIOL 120] 10/12 Lecture Culture of Capitalism Marxist perspectives Classes: Defines sets of people who behave according to a set of defined rules Promote accumulation of profit (capitalists), wages (laborers), and goods (consumers) Long drawn out process by which we are turned into consumers via culture Logic of capitalism: Nothing natural about this behavior Nothing something intrinsic or biological (Marx against what Smith argues) Done intentionally market emerges and profit-oriented logic begins to take hold Humans have no innate drive to accumulate commodities Many societies discourage accumulation of commodities (e.g. European societies) People are not driven to work Culture: learned beliefs and behaviors (defined by sociologists) - Primary and secondary socialization - Primary: family, parents, friends, people closest to you - Secondary: what's happening to you right now - Reconfiguring beliefs and behaviors so that they match whatever it is (marx: whatever ruling elite want you to think) or things that are unspoken - Rules by which we live our lives - Establishing and maintaining beliefs - Meanings that humans construct to interpret their universe - Metaphor for culture - E.g. Navajo sandpaintings - Miniature representation of someone's life - Creating narratives - Contemporary sandpainters - Create vision of the world - Consumption Psychoanalysis emphasizes unconscious and dreams - What do our dreams mean? - Highlighting cultural change Remaking consumption - Objective: describe role of four factions in the creation of the consumer economy
- Prior to 20th century - Mass consumption, primarily addictive, substances were assumed to require little marketing (e.g. coffee, tobacco) - Moderation and self-denial emphasized - Purchases limited to necessities Marketing and Advertising: - To transform buying habits, luxuries had to be turned into necessities and marketed - Bon Marche opened in Paris in 1852 - Allowed people ot walk around without buying to create free floating desire - 1890s: department store develop in the United States - Became cultural primer telling people how to dress, furnish homes, and spend leisure time - Experience in which work of going out and getting commodities is a loss - How do we ensure that people engage in it still? Turning it into an experience - Getting a sense of what other people are doing and wearing - Advertisement informs what we think, shaping consumer desires and create value in commodities - Before late 1990s advertising was looked down upon - $30 million in 1880 to $500 billion industry in 2016 (Handley, 2016) Fashion - Some type of religious or status-oriented aspect to it - Tells us about who you are and who you're going to be - Change happened with how people are expected to constantly change their fashion in capitalist society (constantly mutating and changing) Transformation of Institutions: - Educational institutions - Financial institutions - Debt: seen as a moral failure, but now there's no shame, just fingerpointing - Introduction of credit cards with revolving line of credit Reconfiguration: Time, Space, and Class - Redefined categories of people for marketing rather than marketing to mass audience - Children and minorities - Class and income - Gender and age
Out with the old, in the with new - Searching for ways to be different, sense of individualism, social capital - Brief moment of someone stepping outside of the manipulation of the capitalist culture system - Authenticity of the moment is what people go after - Doing something that is culturally important, think and feel differently - This is now captured and mined by data-driven companies to inform what they put out to consumers Kinderculture in America: the Child as Consumer - Objective: explain the role of childhood in consumer capitalism - Childhood as social creation - 19th: children's roles were as workers - 20th: child labor laws began transition from worker to consumer - Makreters began to target children with toy production, special foods, etc. - Targeting children created consumers for a lifetime - Feel obligated to give them toys, items, and experiences or else will be seen as depriving them - Children became pillars of consumer economy with economic power rivaling that of adults
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