Worksheet on The Joneses
1. How can Thorstein Veblen’s ideas of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure be read into The Joneses? How is the Jones family the perfect embodiment of Veblen’s “leisure class”? How is it significant that this perfect embodiment comes in the form of a deception?
The Jones family demonstrates two of Veblen’s ideas of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure throughout the movie. Conspicuous consumption which can be defined as a type of conspicuous leisure is when someone spends money to acquire a luxury good such as an Audi to display their wealth or social status. As seen in The Joneses the family consumes many goods in order to display their economic superiority and social status. This is seen through their consumption of Audi cars, HTC phones, Lacoste clothing and much more. On the other hand conspicuous leisure is more of a visible act in displaying ones wealth or social status. The Joneses demonstrate this to perfection through acts such as playing golf, displaying their souvenirs from exotic vacations and other leisure activities. The Jones family is the perfect embodiment of Veblen’s “leisure class” because they surround themselves with the practices of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure. They focus primarily on Veblen’s ideas and spend their whole time participating in these leisure activities. This is viewed in the movie when Steve literally spends everyday playing golf. Day in and day out their time is spent on activities that do not contribute to the economy but to their self image. It is significant that this perfect embodiment comes in the form of a deception for the simple reason that it is displaying the most extreme case. In displaying the most extreme case of this perfect embodiment they are displaying the effect of Veblen’s “leisure class” and over consumption on families.
2. Name two brands that appear in the movie via product placement. How does this product placement affect...
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