Adidas tells us Impossible is nothing. We see athletes such as David Beckham tell us the highs and lows of the career he has chosen. However Adidas gives him the belief to overcome this problem with their slogan impossible is nothing. Does this give the couch potato the impression and beleif to put on a pair of football boots and he will soon become the next David Beckham. Or is this just part of the consumer culture.
| || |
Consumer culture has become part of out identity and our lifestyle.
''Branded lifestyles are not merely superficial veneers on deeper identities but have to some degree become substitute identities'' Benjamin Barber
We have become subdued to the power of the brand to define who we are as people and the power of advertising that relates to are identity.
The best way to define consumer cultures is the way that societies buy for personal needs. However advertising and other culture imperatives to consume much more than we need to. In which leads to shaping public opinion and desires of the consumers. Advertisers manipulate people into buying products. They do this through use advertisements that invoke our brains to tell us that we need more material things to show off our lifestyle and society that we belong to.
Using the phrase retail therapy is the underlying love that we have for consumption in which it has wrapped it arms round each and every consumer and drawn us in. We want to live a life and live in pleasurably which means consuming products to make us feel better about ourselves and influence the environment we live in and how we want people to see us.
Theorist Karl Marx agrees with my theory by stating
''for it's only when they purchase things that they find momentary gratification and escape from the alienation that plagues them''.
In this quote Marx is talking about how the society feels alienated by a vicious cycle of work to buy the things that we want from the advertisers who tell us we need this stuff.
Consumers have begun to get lost in advertisements as there are to many around according to Jean Baudrillard. In which we cancel each advertisement out unless there is a factor that appeals to our emotions that leads us to purchasing that product.
It can be argued that capitalism has been replaced by consumer cultures in which has lead to a world of hyper reality. It has become that we cant distinguish between the real and the hyper real. Do we but products because we need them. Or do we just buy material products to keep up the trend. In the words of Madonna ''we are living in a material world, and Im just a material girl''
Cadbury World first opened its doors to the public in 1990. Opened among the Cadbury factory and the model village that is Bournville it is devoted to the story of chocolate and the history of the brand that is now part of the modern day culture.
Cadbury World is a cultural space because it’s based in a city where ‘’Cadbury means chocolate means fun’’ brings in the history of Cadbury past and present. It explains how the model village of Bournville was built for the employees of Cadbury and how they paved the way for better working conditions for their employees that filtered out across the UK in due course. It tells the story of chocolate in the UK and how it has become part of Britain’s culture, the home of Cadbury.
I visited Cadbury World on Monday 18th March 2012 as part of my ethnography research into how this place is a culture space. Across the 14 zones that I visited I learned more about Cadbury and how they deserve place in the culture history books, one for the improvement of working conditions and bringing the nation the well-loved chocolate brand.
I loved learning about John Cadbury and his first shop that opened on Bull Street, Birmingham to how they built what we know Cadbury to be. When observing other people throughout the tour I realised that there where many schools tours in operation that day. While queuing for the Essence part of the tour that explains the ‘’glass and a half full’’ logo I got talking to one of the teachers who wants to remain unidentifiable.
He said the visit was as much for him as the students. He explained that he wanted the children to know about how Cadbury was more than just chocolate but a place that brought about culture and change in Britain. Also observing parents with children the smiles and expressions on their faces let me see the impact that Cadbury World had on these people. It is place of culture, a place of fun, a place of history and a place that opens your eyes.
Observing of the advertising avenue it is easy to see how Cadbury’s advertisements have become as much as culture as they have. The zone shows the most famous advertising campaigns as you walk through a chocolate street of houses. You then enter a space where you can see all the television commercials from glass and half full productions that are as popular as the brand itself. Take the gorilla add for dairy milk that is simple yet has become the nation’s favorite Cadbury ad.
Emma Robertson author of Chocolate, Women and Empire: a Social and Cultural History agrees that chocolate ‘has been invested with specific cultural meanings which are in part connected to … conditions of production’. This quote just proves to me more that Cadbury World is a cultural space as it celebrates the history of a company started out in the streets of Birmingham and became the culture icon that it is today.
Media Research Methods by James Anderson. Chapter 15: Ethnographic Methods
Ethnographic is the study of observing something or something to gain a better understanding of something. For example a researcher looking into the trends of family TV consumption would conduct an ethnography research to gain valuable insight. In this chapter Anderson describes the trails and tribulations of ethnography as a research method.
This reading allowed me to understand ethnography research and it also made me aware of what to do for my field trip to a cultural space. During my visit to my cultural space I will be aware that i will be writing about the culture and observing why my chose space is a lace of culture. I will be providing the narrative for people to understand why the space is culture and fill in the blanks for myslef and others.
'' We live in a socially implicated reality populated with semiotic objects that are constituted in the practices by which we engage them''
I will take into account this quote while conducting my ethnography research of my chosen cultural space. I will look out for how people engage with the space and ask them why it is a culture space to them.
Looking at this picture you know straight away that the city is New York. Pictures can tell you of the place and the landmark items make you recognize it. This is the cultural significance of New York City.
''The city is constructed as much by images and representations as by the built environment, demographic, shifts and patterns of capital investment'' Lapsley, 1997
NYC became a culture space because of the space, the sites and the idea that the media have given the city over the years. Famous shows such as Friends and Sex and the City have leading to people thinking that the living in the city is glamorous and interesting. Both shows have been cultural phenomenons across the globe.
Sex and the City showed that women where not afraid to admit that they came to NYC for love. It showed that women were not afraid to discuss the topic of sex and know that their friends would be there for them. It explored the culture themes of fashion, love, money three themes and cultures that NYC is famous for.
Fashion was a prominent figure in Sex and the City with the girls needing all the latest must haves in shoes clothes and accessories. Many people now visit NYC on shopping trips. Love played a major part in Sex and the City as the women ventured out to find the man of their dreams among the men of the big city.
''And there, in the same city where they met as girls, four New York women entered the next phase of their lives dressed head to toe in love. And that's the one label that never goes out of style.'' Carrie Bradshaw
Now women across the world go to NYC to look for the two L's: Labels and Love in the culture city that never goes out of style.
We all know that Birmingham is the second city in England. Parker and Long during this reading look back at Birmingham and the new expanding waves of buildings that erupted since the 1960's.
''A series of 20th century visions of what a good city should look like and how it should function are been buried''
That was the vision of the reading. That all these new buildings and the ever expanding roads are leading to Birmingham becoming a concrete maze.
The images that the city center now provide a narrative of the modernization both of what was set out to be achieved and what has been achieved.
Birmingham has progressed in everyday life and reinforce the image of the city. The image of Birmingham now is a Cosmopolitan city of Europe but Parker and Long describe it as a working class life located in a seedy mise-en-scene.
Birmingham is still in an ongoing transition and the building of East Side determines that.
The free Deirdre Campaign was even talked about in the house of commons
I have chosen to do a post structuralism analysis of the popular culture of soap operas.
'Hyper Reality' the term introduced by Jean Baudrillard plays a major role in the culture of soap operas. It is said that it is a term to describe how real life and fiction are becoming less important.
Soap Operas are a perfect example of this. You have people who play characters that that are fiction but who are based on real life and issues. The audience of theses programmes begin to sideline fiction and see the show as a reality. You have people writing to these actors and sympathizing with them over a storyline that they have played. Some fans have even asked them to marry them. It has become daily parts of peoples conversations that even the media cover them.
Take Coronation Street and the Free Deirdre Rachid campagin back in 1998 when she was wrongly jailed for fraud. The media ran a campaign ''Free the Weatherfield One'' with t-shirts and a petition avaialble to sign. It got that much coverage that even then Prime Minster Tony Blair promised to intervene.
''But this time, unlike many who have gone before her, this victim of judicial failure is a fictional character.'' (BBC)
The quote shows how Hyper Reality has torn reality from fiction and been able to distinguish between the two. It shows how the culture of Soap Opera's are becoming more and more real in some peoples minds.
In John Storey Cultural Theory and Popular Culture he sets out to try explain the term postmodernism.
Storey explains that the term 'post modern' started to circulate in the 1870's, It was not until the 50's and 60's that saw the beginning of what we as a cultured world understand the term to be. It can be argued that postmodernism shows that the distiction of th high and low cultures are failing to exist in the modern society. He relates it all back to the term of popular culture.
During the reading Storey introduces us to three main thinkers of the term 'post modern'.
The first been Jean François Lyotard,
''Knowledge is no longer seen as an end in itself, but as a means to an end''
From the quote I think that Llyotard is trying to admit that because of post modernism that we are living in anything goes culture, leading to a new way of modernism.
Free Deride Campaign received national coverage
Secondly were introduced to Jean Baudrillard who believes that there is little distinction between original and the copy. For example mass produced pop music has the same beat and rhythm but with different lyrics. Therefore been hard to distinguish been the original and the copy.
Baudrillard also introduced the word ''Hyper Realism''. This term means that the significance of fiction and reality is becoming less and less important in our culture. For example Soap Opera characters receive letters from fans with many starting campaigns when they don't agree with a story line.
Finally we were introduced to Fredric Jameson,
''Postmodern culture is a culture of quotations that is cultural production born out of previous cultural productions''
From the quote Jameson is referring to the idea that we reuse ideas and texts from previous cultures thus making culture relate to capitalism.
Instead of my usual response in words i decided ti make a mind map using Microsoft word for something a bit different
John Storey discusses how meanings of words and their interpretations result in a cultural agreement. He explains how the system works by making a difference and a distinction within a system of difference and relationships. (See above diagram for explanation)
Storey goes on to tell us how words can change meaning. For instance if you take the sentence '' Mary made some cakes while thinking of her lover '' and change it to '' Mary made some cakes while thinking of her holiday ''. The sentence has a total different meaning now due to the change of a few words.
Storey is describing the importance of structure is processed through selection and combinations. He does through various thoughts of media theorists throughout the chapter. Iit suggests that ''structure makes meaning possible''.
A point to note is that the language we speak does not reflect the material world that we live in. It suggest that language constructs our sense of reality in the material world were posseions are more important than anything else.
During the chapter we are provided with images that accompany text. It suggest that even the phrase a picture says a 1000 words is uncommon as many pictures are accompanied by some form of text which allows the