Global Consumer Culture

Global Consumer Culture -...

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“Global Consumer Culture,” in Encyclopedia of International Marketing , Jagdish Sheth and Naresh Maholtra, eds., Eric J. Arnould Consumer Culture Consumer culture can be defined as a “social arrangement in which the relations between the [lived cultural experience of everyday life] and social resources, between meaningful [valued] ways of life and the symbolic and material resources on which they depend, is mediated through markets.” Consumer culture is a system in which consumption, a set of behaviors found in all times and places, is dominated by the consumption of commercial products. It is also a system in which the transmission of existing cultural values, norms and customary ways of doing things from generation to generation “is largely understood to be carried out through the exercise of free personal choice in the private sphere of everyday life.” Furthermore, consumer culture is also bound up with the idea of modernity, that is, a world “no longer governed by tradition but rather by flux,” and in which “social actors who are deemed to be individually free and rational” holds sway (Slater 2000, 8 9). And finally, consumer culture denote an economy in which value has been divorced from the material satisfaction of wants and the sign value of goods takes precedence (Baudrillard 1996/1968; 1998/1970). In consumer culture predispositions toward social emulation, matching, and imitation expressed through marketplace choices are accompanied by a penchant for differentiation, individuality, and distinction also expressed through marketplace choices. Together these motives drive the characteristically rapid turn over in goods and services. These dynamics are often thought to have been triggered by the purposeful social engineering of marketers, advertisers and retailers (Packard 1957; Ewen 1976; Williams 1982), and to have spread from roots in the fashion industry into all parts of social life (Simmel 1997/1904; Featherstone 1991, 115). Four more crucial aspects of consumer culture include: 1. The pervasive and rapid circulation of commercial products, that is, things produced for exchange within a capitalist market, takes priority over and above things redistributed by governmental through the welfare state or exchanged among social groups through gift giving. 2. The relative independence of consumption activities from those related to production and the growing power and authority this gives to some consumers over market dynamics. 3. Changes in the relationships between different systems of production and valuation in society such that these are all increasingly interlinked and mediated by market values; i.e., How much does it cost? How much will someone pay? 4.
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This note was uploaded on 11/11/2011 for the course UGC 112 taught by Professor Barry during the Spring '08 term at SUNY Buffalo.

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Global Consumer Culture -...

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