Consumer Culture Reborn: The Cultural Politics of by Martyn J. Lee

By Martyn J. Lee

Lee brings jointly the discourses of political economic system and cultural experiences as a way to make clear our social events. Lee sees the commodity because the very important touchstone at the back of either research of the financial system and tradition.

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Extra resources for Consumer Culture Reborn: The Cultural Politics of Consumption

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In The World of Goods, Douglas and Isherwood argue that goods function symbolically as a code or language, and as a means of making social behaviour intelligible. The symbolic purpose of goods, they suggest, is ‘to make visible and stable the categories of culture’ (Douglas and Isherwood 1978:61). This function is seen to include but also to extend well beyond the type of competitive and conspicuous display when goods are used as markers of social prestige and status, a theme so famously explored nearly 100 years ago in Thorstein Veblen’s The Theory of the Leisure Class (1953).

But Bourdieu is able to move well beyond such a uni-dimensional model of cultural consumption as the conscious and conspicuous management of status symbols. Processed via the habitus, each group’s relationship to the realm of economic necessity effectively re-surfaces as an objectively perceived cultural ‘world-view’. It appears here as the apparently spontaneous and innate sequence of preferences and practices that constitute class taste and that ‘naturally’ appear to inform class-specific cultural judgements.

In other terms, reception is directly related to the disparity between the level of the information offered and the level of the receiver’s competence. (Bourdieu 1972:26) In some ways this makes cultural goods little other than symbolic utilities, valuable not for their inherent properties, but as objective vehicles for the demonstration of the interpretive skills of particular consumers.

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