SociologyJan15 - Sociology Jan. 15, 2008 Consumer Culture...

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Sociology Jan. 15, 2008 Consumer Culture Consumerism is a global and economic force that is travelling around the world Consumerism: - rose in the early 1900 with the advent of mass production (I.E. Henry Ford and the assembly line) - consumer goods = commodities - Mass production became a problem when companies had a lot of crap and people were cheap - Mass consumerism plays on peoples fears of scarcity of resources - Consumerism had a democratizing tendency (people can own a home and go to the grocery and buy whatever they want) - Robyn’s Article: o With the advent of consumer culture we entered a society of perpetual growth (mass consumption got tied into economic activity and the economy must always expand) o Consumer society was successful thanks to: Marketing in advertising – successful at promoting commodities to people (people changed the way they advertised by going past the utilitarian dimensions of the product and making shit look magical) Capitalism has been successful at accommodating large numbers of individuals to live in comfort but not equally The individual had to change: construction of the consumer! Institutional changes had to be made to make individuals into consumers – strategies were put into place like the shopping mall and department store. Marketers and researchers realized they had to invent shopping Social institutions had to change: the university started to make programs in marketing and business. Credit was created (mortgages and stuff). Spiritual and intellectual values had to change (frugality and self denial gave way to compulsive spending). Commodities were seen as having magical qualities that could improve people’s lives. Transformation of childhood: Kinder-culture (the corporate construction of childhood). Schooling and consumption. Child psychologists were encouraging parents to inform their kids on how to make consumer decisions. This consumer strategy is helpful because it causes the parent to
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SociologyJan15 - Sociology Jan. 15, 2008 Consumer Culture...

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