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consumer culture impact on society

02.12.2020

consumer culture and consumer society meri ts further investigation. The so-called good life of low-cost consumer textile and technological goods—the West’s status quo—comes at a cost paid by workers in other parts of the world. “In the 1920s, factories churned out millions of electric irons, vacuum cleaners, corn poppers, coffee percolators, and other household appliances,” Nye notes. Russell W. Belk, in Collectible Investments for the High Net Worth Investor, 2009. Regional influence, both in the United States and other areas, is significant. For example, on the average, Americans have become less materialistic and have sought more leisure; on the other hand, the percentage of people working extremely long hours has also increased. Understanding that products needed buyers, Ford decided to pay his workers double the going wage of the time. Therefore, in the long run, there will be few differences between ethnic groups and instead, one mainstream culture that incorporates elements from each will result. Content Guidelines 2. In fact, the American consumer was praised as a patriotic citizen in the 1950s, contributing to the ultimate success of the American way of life. Instead, the desire for acquisition begins to erode one’s sense of innate human value and transfers it to things. In time it was a relatively simple task to make minor modifications to existing products and then advertise them as new and improved so that consumers would feel they needed the latest version. Among the topics it deals with are the role of brands in selling products … By 1914, using the assembly line in a newer factory in Highland Park, Ford was producing 248,000. Editor's Note: This is the electronic text of the annual Phi alpha Theta lecture delivered by Professor Kathy L. Peiss at the University at Albany, State University of New York, on March 26, 1998. Consumer culture affects all aspects of life of individuals living therein. For example, although this does not apply to everyone, African Americans tend to worship in churches that have predominantly African American membership, and church is often a significant part of family life. and their need to incorporate ‘more and more’—goods, money, experience, everything” (Land of Desire). The “salad bowl” metaphor, in contrast, suggests that although ethnic groups win interact as a whole (through the whole mix of salad) and contain some elements of the whole (through the dressing), each group will maintain its own significant traits (each vegetable is different from the others). (2) Culture is learned rather than being something we are born with. So, just as we tend not to think of the farmer or farm worker in the field who grows, picks and sorts our fresh foods (nor the immense integrated processing systems that synthesize our common packaged foods), so we are oblivious to the story line behind almost everything we use in our daily lives. iii. But as Nye notes, “the assembly line is not the ideal instrument with which to promote frugality or minimize consumption.”. Formal rules carry relatively explicit standards as to how one should behave, and violations often carry severe sanctions. But with the entry of the United States into World War II, mass production ramped up and once again turned toward the war effort: “The assembly line [became] the arsenal of democracy,” guaranteeing that “the United States would never run short of trucks, ships, planes, weapons, or supplies” for the war effort. The combination of the two factors—higher wages and the lower cost of mass-produced goods—would enable consumers of every economic class to access a higher standard of living. . Nye notes that an important additional feature, electrification of the factory, “was a necessary precondition before these elements could be improved individually and combined into a new form of production.” By 1911 it had all come together, and in 1914 “the assembly line was in full operation.”. ii. Thus, for example, we have the “teenage” subculture and the “Cuban-American” subculture. Section Summary While tensions between owners and workers continued to grow, and wage earners struggled with the challenges of industrial work, the culture of American consumerism was changing. “It was a culture that first appeared as an alternative culture—or as one moving largely against the grain of earlier traditions of republicanism and Christian virtue—and then unfolded to become the reigning culture of the United States.”. celebrity culture. Still, the opportunity to own new and luxurious products was one that many Americans, aspiring to improve their place in society, could not resist. Wanting, getting and having are not the point of life (Luke 12:15–21). Impact of Culture on Consumer Behaviour 1. 6. Handmade goods were passed down through the generations; items that were purchased, such as cloth or tools, were cared for, repaired, repurposed. ii. In some cultures, gifts should be presented in private to avoid embarrassing the recipient; in others, the gift should be made publicly to ensure that no perception of secret, bribery could be made. The prosperity of a nation is judged by the per capita income of individuals residing in it. Society was becoming less conservative as people began to submerge themselves in pleasurable and entertaining activities rather than devoting their time to their jobs or the household. Along with this change came an increasing ability to commercialize one’s land, as the original internet—railroad lines—facilitated the movement of produce from country to city. (4) Conscious awareness of cultural standards is limited. This means that all parts must fit together in some logical fashion. Before Henry Ford was born, speed, acceleration, innovation, interchangeable parts, uniformity, and economies of scale already were valued in the United States, where the values that the assembly line would embody were woven into everyday life.”, Ford didn’t invent the assembly line, but it was his engineers who, from 1908 through 1913, capitalized on and further developed such innovations as the subdivision of labor, interchangeable parts, single-function machines that operated in sequence, and mechanized belts to move the work to the worker. Joel Garreau, in his book The Nine Nations of North America, proposed nine distinct regional subcultures that cut across state fanes. . Revolutionary though it was, the assembly line might have been just another step in the history of manufacturing if not for Henry Ford’s most important and pioneering idea. Workers at the new Ford plant were happy to have steady jobs and better wages. As Nye says, “a cultural context either fosters or resists a new technology. The United States has undergone some changes in its predominant culture over the last several decades. In modern society, big technology companies like Apple, Google, Netflix and Facebook have revolutionized the way consumers react and behave toward new products. The tragically poor and exploited lives of Chinese chip makers and Indian and Bangladeshi seamstresses are gaining worldwide visibility. Business could be conducted, orders taken and filled in hours or days instead of weeks or months. Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture: Advertising's Impact on American Character and Society, Fifth Edition: 9781442241251: Communication Books @ Amazon.com It is as if we desire to take on responsibility for something more than simply going and buying. It should also be kept in mind that, much information is carried in non-verbal communication. are spent on products of dubious value and little social return. In 1909 14,000 cars were turned out at Ford’s old Piquette Avenue factory in Detroit. (See text for more detail). Biography: Henry Ford: The People's Tycoon, Interview: Consumerism and the Family Farm, James Twitchell, “Two Cheers for Materialism” (1999), in. It is an often stated catechism that the economy would improve if people just bought more things, bought more cars and spent more money. Increased advertising piqued consumer desire, and demand for these new and inexpensive products grew rapidly. . For example, one Ph.D. student from India, with limited income, felt obligated to try buy an airline ticket for a friend to go back to India when a relative had died. For many of us, especially when young, consumerism is our better judgment. For example, in India, a movie must have at least seven songs to be successful; in the U.S., preempting the soundtrack for that amount of time would not be desirable. The author is a proud sponsor of the 2020 SAGE Keith Roberts Teaching Innovations Award —enabling graduate students and early career faculty to attend the annual ASA pre-conference teaching and learning workshop.. Consumer Culture and Society offers an introduction to the study of consumerism and mass consumption from a sociological perspective. As a result, building a relationship of trust is more important in Asia, since you must be able to count on your partner being reasonable. Image Guidelines 5. Yet, culture offers order, direction, and guidance to members of society in all phases of human problem solving. The more goods produced and consumed by society, the higher the growth rate of the economy. Copyright 10. TOS 7. Social Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior Definition: The Social Factors are the factors that are prevalent in the society where a consumer live in. Culture has several important characteristics: (1) Culture is comprehensive. It is a death spiral. ADVERTISEMENTS: The Impact of Culture on Consumer Behaviour! Failure to behave within the prescribed norms may lead to sanctions, ranging from being hauled off by the police for indecent exposure to being laughed at by others for wearing a suit at the beach. Harley Earl, former design chief at General Motors, is frequently quoted as saying that the “big job is to hasten obsolescence. iii. Historian Leach concludes his overview of the development of American consumerism with a call for the consumer to reject “business values, the cult of the new, the constant pursuit of mere comfort” that are the foundation of what he calls the “culture of desire.” Like earlier critics, he suggests that we would all be better off if we could step off the assembly line of consumption and seek “a larger vision of what it [means] to be human, a fuller sense of being,” and join in the “refusal to accept having and taking as the key to being or the equivalent of being.”, “We have not been led into this world of material closeness against our better judgment. Problems for Society. Disclaimer 9. Significant changes have occurred in gender roles in American society. Because the price of the Model T actually came down year by year, they could now afford the automobiles they made. It offers a definition of advertising, explains the way advertising agencies work, discusses the functions of advertising, and provides a psycho-cultural perspective on advertising. Over the past 100 years, scientific breakthroughs and technological innovations have radically changed the human experience. With the industrial revolution, but particularly in the 20th century, mass production led to overproduction—the supply of goods would grow beyond consumer demand, and so manufacturers turned to planned obsolescence and advertising to manipulate consumer spending. Celebrity Culture : The Impact Of Celebrity Culture On Consumer Behavior 828 Words | 4 Pages. Thus brand loyalty and consumer confidence also became commodities. The jump in productivity with the new technology was remarkable. Society Consumer Insights Behavioral economics and nudge theory gets a bad reputation. We must conclude that there comes a point at which having more doesn’t give us more. Speed, standardization and ease of transportation changed the face of the country and its economy. Nye characterizes the change this had on people’s impression of land as “an imagined order of interchangeable and standardized parts.”. Culture, as a “complex whole,” is a system of interdependent components. Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture is an engaging cultural studies critique of advertising and its impacts on American society. The modern society of consumerism and rampant ‘development’ is destroying our world. But we need to have our priorities in order. Notice, by the way, that what at least some countries view as moral may in fact be highly immoral by the standards of another country. Financial resources better spent on Social Capital such as education, nutrition, housing etc. Subculture refers to a culture within a culture. The “melting pot” metaphor suggests that immigrants gradually assimilate after they arrive. There is a certain satisfaction in making something yourself; a life seems fuller in the rather than just the using. Other issues are relevant. Like an addiction, we can become trapped in a downward spiral of both financial and mental consumer debt. In fact, as we have seen, we are encouraged on many fronts to do just that; it can even seem to be one’s patriotic duty. “Getting and spending has become the most passionate, and often the most imaginative, endeavor of modern life.”, James Twitchell, “Two Cheers for Materialism,” in The Consumer Society Reader. In doing so In doing so this paper aims to contribute to the releva nt literature in the area by adding to the Click on bold numbers in the text to follow links to footnotes. Content Filtrations 6. Having a more intimate connection with the things we use has meaningful psychological benefits. Americans will feel crowded where people from more densely populated countries will be comfortable. That is, culture represents influences that are imposed on the consumer by other individuals. Several events occurred to cause this transformation. The economy is considered to be “doing well” if the purchasing power of the people is high. Symbols differ in meaning. Richard Robbins is worth quoting at length on the impact of consumption on the environment and on people. Report a Violation, Consumer Behaviour: Meaning, Significance and Determinants, Importance of Studying Consumer Behaviour, Role of Market Segmentation in Judging Consumer Behaviour. In Japan, on the other hand, groups of men and women may take steam baths together without perceived as improper. In 1934 the average car ownership span was five years; now [in 1955] it is two years. From the beginning, mass production was also important on a national, political level. Trips that had taken weeks at the beginning of the 19th century took only days by 1860. All rights reserved. The advantage of mass production—using an assembly line that moved the work to the worker—was not lost on other industries and products. However, women still perform a disproportionate amount of housework, and men who participate in this activity tend to do so reluctantly. Prohibited Content 3. In the United States, we are well aware that, there is a great deal of heterogeneity within our culture; however, we often underestimate the diversity within other cultures. iv. Age, language, ethnicity, gender and education level all affect which consumer behaviors a member of a given culture demonstrates. The negative impact of consumer marketing on society. Back in Highland Park, tour guides were hired to lead thousands of curious visitors and businessmen through the intricacies of the production process. Be that as it may, history professor William Leach argues that the development of the modern consumer culture has played on another human desire entirely: to covet, or have an inordinate desire for things. The term “consumer ... postmodern mind-set can have a devastating impact … About this journal. When a life of parties, short-term relationships, drugs, and alcohol are leading celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Lindsay Lohan to spiral out of control, you would think that their lifestyle is far from the ideal. An important consequence is that a person who is part of two subcultures may experience some conflict. In some cultures, we need to signify “yes” and shake our heads to signify “no;” in other cultures, the practice is reversed. We live longer, have access to increasingly sophisticated entertainment and modes of communication, and travel greater distances. Leach describes “the concept of the human being as an insatiable, desiring machine or as an animal governed by an infinity of desires”—a view that suggests there will always be demand if supply can be created. Roads and railways soon crisscrossed the country; people began to travel and to move away from their homes and extended families. Although significant regional differences undoubtedly exist, research has failed to support Garreau’s specific characterizations. For example, the law that once banned interracial marriages in South Africa was named the “Immorality Act,” even though in most civilized countries this law, and any degree of explicit racial prejudice, would itself be considered highly immoral. James Twitchell, “Two Cheers for Materialism,” in The Consumer Society Reader. This degrades human relationships both near and far. Knowledge and beliefs are important parts. Culture exerts different levels of influence on members. It is often assumed in consumer culture that people attend to their body image in an instrumental manner, as status and social acceptability depend on how a person looks. Many food manufacturers offer different product variations for different regions. To help retailers, especially in the grocery, CPG, and health & hygiene space stay proactive, here’s a round-up of the top three consumer trends we observed globally: Stay at home culture boosts e-commerce . For example, in the U.S., most people would consider eating dinner at 10:00 p.m. weird, while this is perfectly normal in parts of Latin American and Southern Europe. It is a measure of the success of a consumer society, obviously, to consume. In the United States, the measured pace of rural life was being replaced by the hurried tempo of urban commerce. The history of consumer cultures can be traced back and linked to particular periods of discontinuity. Nye notes that the popular car had sold for $950 in 1910 and would have cost the average worker 380 days’ wages, yet a new one could be had for only $397 by 1921, 80 days’ wages at Ford’s generous $5 per day. In short, we are the greatest consumers in the history of life on earth. For example, bowing and a strong desire to avoid the loss of face are unified in their manifestation of the importance of respect. Mass marketing became an industry of its own as manufacturers realized they would have to keep the consumer coming back for more to keep the money coming in. The biggest problem with consumerism is the fact that people do not realize that there is a problem. Finally, technical cultural rules involve implicit standards as to what constitutes a good product. Art, for example, may be reflected in the rather arbitrary practice of wearing ties in some countries and wearing turbans in others. Conceptual frameworks for understanding culture: Hall’s high- and low-context culture concept Hofstede’s cultural typology Specific examples of the impact of culture and society on the marketing of both consumer and industrial products. Culture is dynamic, and gradually and continually evolves to meet the needs of society. It’s no wonder that in a desire to reconnect with what many see as a simpler, more organic time, the hand-made and do-it-yourself movement has experienced growing popularity. (5) Cultures fall somewhere on a continuum between static and dynamic depending on how quickly they accept change. It is easy to become entangled in simply consuming for the sake of consuming. The text discusses changes in values in more detail. Twofold task of a global marketer: 1. When the war was over, the focus of manufacturing turned back to the consumer and became, in Nye’s words, “the guarantor of prosperity and democracy.” He cites a post–World War II issue of the Saturday Evening Post as proclaiming America “the last bulwark of civilization” and singing the praises of its “mass employment, mass production, mass advertising, mass distribution and mass ownership of the products of industry.”. Almost everything we touch or use in our homes, our garages, our offices is the by-product of an intense and complex industrial system: from potato to potato chip, cowhide to seat cover, petroleum to plastic pen. “American consumer capitalism produced a culture almost violently hostile to the past and to tradition, a future-oriented culture of desire that confused the good life with goods,” Leach continues. During World War I, mass production was recognized as “an urgent necessity . In the U.S., we know and believe that a person who is skilled and works hard will get ahead. Privacy Policy 8. Do we need this story line? Before publishing your articles on this site, please read the following pages: 1. Kathy L. Peiss . We are surrounded by a manufactured world. For example, it is believed that people old enough to have experienced the American Depression are more frugal because of that experience. . The Journal of Consumer Culture is an established journal, supporting and promoting the continuing expansion in interdisciplinary research focused on consumption and consumer culture, opening up debates and areas of exploration. . It was a secular business and market-oriented culture, with the exchange and circulation of money and goods at the foundation of its aesthetic life and of its moral sensibility. Now in its fourth edition, Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture deals with the impact of advertising upon American character and culture. ,” Nye writes, “and governments gave lucrative contracts to arms makers capable of mass production.” The Depression soon followed and took its toll on all areas of the economy. Informal rules, on the other hand, are less explicit and may not carry sanctions for violation. Different perspectives on the diversity in U.S. culture exist. Land became a commodity, a standardized resource to be bought, sold, and exploited to generate economic growth. Different perspectives exist in different cultures on several issues; e.g. (3) Culture is manifested within boundaries of acceptable behavior. The Impact of Culture on Consumer Behaviour! In Japan, senior executives will enter and leave a meeting room before subordinates in a very deliberate manner. Values are often greatly associated with age groups because people within an age-group have shared experiences. Space is perceived differently. It is no small thing to recognize that the Ten Commandments warn against being overtaken by covetousness, because its consequences quickly spiral out of control (Exodus 20:17). Language is an important element of culture. . vi. Culture is learned as part of social experience. For example, in many countries, two forms of the second pronoun (you) exist, with different levels of deference associated with each (e.g., tu and usted in Spanish and tu and vous in Spanish German even has three levels)! Academia.edu is a platform for academics to share research papers. No one needs to change his or her car’s oil anymore, yet some still do; and urban dwellers appreciate having a garden, even if its crop is only one tomato plant. Yet, to continue at an ever-increasing pace—a pace that meets the growth model of increasing profits, wages and employment—requires more feedstock materials, energy and capital. Today the world is awash in material goods and a higher standard of living for increasing numbers. “Chunking,” the name for China in Chinese, literally means “The Middle Kingdom.” The belief among ancient Chinese that they were in die centre of the universe greatly influenced their thinking. mediatexthack. A perfectly working five-year-old auto was merely considered outdated in terms of features. Contributions that reflect different areas and viewpoints, including the rise of consumer behavior and the effects that living in a consumer culture and/or living with a consumer culture have … We are already consuming resources at an alarming rate and quicker than our planet is able to replenish. Jesus noted that life was not the sum total of one’s possessions (Matthew 4:4) and that the duty of humankind was to seek something higher than material things alone (Matthew 6:33). Global economics and manufacturing have seemingly wedded themselves to the ethic of consumption. : i. Monochromic cultures tend to value precise scheduling and doing one thing at a time; in polychromic cultures, in contrast, promptness is valued less, and multiple tasks may be performed simultaneously. Historian David Nye notes, “The development of the United States into a highly accelerated society began at the latest during the late eighteenth century” (America’s Assembly Line). For several reasons, we do. It should be realized that regional differences may be subtle. Worst of all, this model plays to the lowest common denominator of human nature. The impact of culture is so natural and ingrained that its influence on behavior is rarely noted. It should be noted that there is a tendency of outsiders to a culture to overstate the similarity of members of that culture to each other. The term consumer cultures refers to a theory according to which modern human society is strongly subjected to consumerism and stresses the centrality of purchasing commodities and services (and along with them power) as a cultural practice that fosters social behaviors.. For example, American culture has changed a great deal since the 1950’s, while the culture of Saudi Arabia has changed much less. For example, in American society, one cannot show up to class naked, but wearing anything from a suit and tie to shorts and a T-shirt would usually be acceptable. They valued stability, thriftiness and family. Covetousness is a temptation to which we are all certainly prone. From this definition, we make the following observations: i. we reveal far more about our own eagerness to be passive in the face of complexity than about the thing itself.”, James Twitchell, “Two Cheers for Materialism,” in The Consumer Society Reader. Yet we seem to be less happy and more anxious. To build something is participatory in a way that simply consuming a product is not. For example, in Latin America, there are great differences between people who live in coastal and mountainous areas; there are also great differences between social classes. One of the reasons for this is that more women work outside the home than before. v. In the U.S, and much of Europe, agreements are typically rather precise and contractual in nature; in Asia, there is a greater tendency to settle issues as they come up. Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture: Advertising's Impact on American Character and Society Arthur Asa Berger The fifth edition of this approachable text draws on both academic and applied perspectives to offer a lively critique of contemporary advertising’s effects on American character and culture. For example, one word may mean one thing in one Latin American country, but something off-color in another. These were astonishing numbers, and this new form of mass production attracted widespread attention. Colors that are considered masculine and feminine also differ by culture. Again, however, it should be kept in mind that there are great variations within the culture. In some countries, for example, there are explicit standards as to how a gift should be presented. Modern consumerism isn’t inherently bad, but its effects have a negative impact on the modern society overall. . . While primarily done as a way to reduce worker turnover, Ford also recognized that by paying his workers more, they would become greater consumers. When it is one year, we will have a perfect score.” The idea of giving consumers choice was often a ploy to keep them spending money on things that did not actually need to be replaced. For example, African Americans are, as indicated in the group name, Americans; however, a special influence of the African American community is often also present. Culture is part of the external influences that impact the consumer. Production and consumption waned. On the other extreme, women in some Arab countries are not even allowed to reveal their faces. 2Executive SummaryInternational marketers believe that consumers would increasinglyresemble each other and that they will eat the same food, wear same clothes, lwatch the same television programs to an increasing proportion. Recent news concerning the unsafe living and working conditions of great masses of people is likely merely the tip of the exploitation iceberg. Consumer Culture and Postmodernism Prasidh Raj SINGH1 2 ... Consumer culture is also play a vital role in the society, consumer culture may be defined as a day to day change in the taste of consumer behaviour. Just as the Mexican drug lords have built their empires and fractured their nation on consumptive American demands for marijuana and narcotics, so the Chinese have destroyed much of their land, peasant peoples and urban health in making “Made in China” the current worldwide label for “cheap and easily replaced.”. © 1999, 2020 Vision.org. In demonizing it, in seeing ourselves as helpless and innocent victims of its overpowering force, . Clothes, furniture, toys, cars, food are produced in factories—large factories—somewhere. The flu-like nature of COVID -19 is the reason behind the … The “melting pot” view suggests that one should run integrated promotions aimed at all groups; the “salad bowl” approach suggests that each group should be approached separately. ... the sum total of goods and services produced by a given society in a given year. American Women and the Making of Modern Consumer Culture. The definition of culture offered in the text, is “That complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man person as a member of society.”. Time itself, once tied to the actual relationship of the sun to the earth, became standardized to make travel more reliable and convenient, and to ensure that schedules were adhered to as closely as possible. Communication for a spreading populace was made possible by the inventions of the telegraph and the telephone. We have not just asked to go this way, we have demanded.”. Although the rise of consumer culture democratized collecting, there is still a dominance by the more economically upscale and by males in most areas of adult collecting. The definition of culture offered in the text, is “That complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, custom, and any other […] Culture is part of the external influences that impact the consumer. This planned obsolescence didn’t mean that products stopped working at a certain age, however. In a consumer society, people replace their goods with newer ones. Sometimes vilified as dark marketing, government interference, or self-serving paternalism, fears arise around the notion that such interventions infringe on individual rights. Morality may be exhibited in the view in the United States that one should not be naked in public. Cultural rules can be categorized into three types. At the 1915 San Francisco World’s Fair, a working model of the assembly line turned out Model Ts. We will consider the mechanics of learning later in the course. . “Commercialism is more a mirror than a lamp. How can we create a more unified society when the very people who have the power to steer human consciousness in the right direction automatically separate themselves from the collective with outdated theories and … Consumer culture is a culture focused on consumption of goods and services in society, which greatly influences values, activities and the social status of its members. In this, Leach is returning to an even earlier historical record. “This concept of humanity argues that what is most ‘human’ about people is their quest after the new, their willingness to violate boundaries, their hatred of the old and the habitual . 1IMPACT OF CULTUREON CONSUMERBEHAVIOUR 2. But in the mid-1800s, a cultural shift was beginning. “By 1930, mass-produced electric fans, radios, and washing machines had become as widespread as the automobile.”, “The word consumption increasingly lost its earlier connotations of destroying, wasting, or using up, and came instead to refer in a positive way to the satisfying of human needs and desires.”, Stephanie Coontz, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. The mutualism of mass production and mass consumption has today formed an economic bond that is both critical and tenuous. For example, while white symbols purity in the U.S., it is a symbol of death in China. Be that as it may, history professor William Leach argues that the development of the modern consumer culture has played on another human desire entirely: to covet, or have an inordinate desire for things. Consumer society’s environmental cost, such as planned obsolescence or waste levels increasing, is a dangerous threat for sustainable development These days, all the products and goods we need are at our fingertips, from the most basic to the most sophisticated. What we think about, we tend to do; and when we think about “not having” we tend to respond by creating a way to get (James 4:1–2). “The cardinal features of this culture were acquisition and consumption as the means of achieving happiness; the cult of the new; the democratization of desire; and money value as the predominant measure of all value in society.”, The automated assembly line was a natural outgrowth of these attitudes. Subculture is often categorized on the basis of demographics. As recently as 150 years ago, people in the mostly rural communities of the world lived lives governed by the seasons, produced most of what they needed, and stayed in their communities for a lifetime. In addition, with the increased productivity that the assembly line made possible, the prices of goods could be lowered. In general, commercials tend to lag somewhat behind reality-e.g., few men are seen doing housework, and few women are seen as buyers and decision makers on automobile purchases. But the profit motive and greed for an ever-increasing bottom line turn corporate gears, ensuring that this human weakness will be exploited. That is, culture represents influences that are imposed on the consumer by other individuals. When the United States was attacked in September 2001, then-president George W. Bush asked the nation for its “continued participation and confidence in the American economy.” While not exactly telling the public to go shopping, his words encouraged the populace to go about its usual business, which certainly included a trip to the local mall. Because only a very few of us participate in the actual making of these everyday items, we tend to take their existence for granted; it is as if they magically appear on the shelves of our ubiquitous superstores. Plagiarism Prevention 4. Thus we find ourselves in a quandary: to slow our consumption seems tantamount to cutting our own economic neck. Commerce became the focus of the national consciousness, and it spawned the consumer culture, according to Leach: “In the decades following the Civil War, American capitalism began to produce a distinct culture, unconnected to traditional family or community values, to religion in any conventional sense, or to political democracy. While part of the overall culture, these groups often have distinguishing characteristics. Ours is a world of mass production. Young people may not adopt cultural practices that are common for adults, and may develop practices unique to … The desire that all people have a decent standard of living is certainly commendable; things in themselves are not necessarily bad, and having a mass production system that meets the needs of the masses is not intrinsically wrong. Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts. Americans have a lot of quite shallow friends toward whom little obligation is felt; people in European and some Asian cultures have fewer, but more significant friends. Global in perspective and drawing on both theory and empirical research, the journal reflects the need to engage critically with modern consumer … For example, teenage native Americans experience a conflict between the mainstream, teenage culture and traditional Indian ways. Has our consumer culture become a curse rather than a cure? One key development in the middle of that century was the US government’s division of land into salable grid sections. One American spy was intercepted by the Germans during World War II simply because of the way he held his knife and fork while eating. Arthur Asa Berger looks at marketing strategies, sex and advertising, consumer culture, political advertising, and communication theory and process to give an accessible overview of advertising in America. In terms of etiquette, some cultures have more rigid procedures than others. In other countries, it may be believed that differences in outcome result more from luck.

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