Ludovic Bryan Cathan
Consumers, Audiences, Publics and Users 212
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Curtin University of Technology
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How can the academic study of consumption help you to understand the role of consumption in structuring your day-to-day existence?
Consumption forms part of our everyday lives and us as consumers have to deal with choices in our decision making. Several theorists came with different theories about what influences us to make those choices. Those invisible forces affect us and have a great impact on what we choose to buy or not. Theories on consumption help us understand how society and how people around us shape our decisions. It is a very interesting subject to reflect on as views differ from one another. The term consumption just meant consuming products from my perspective before approaching the terms and theories of this module. We generally think of consumption as something which benefits only the consumer. Some other people might also think that decisions making are only done by individuals. But what we tend to forget is that businesses, organisations and also Government also play an important role. However, consumption implying only the individual is by far a much more complex matter than that. I will attempt to explain it and go deeper into the concept.
T. Adorno introduces its readers with a term he calls “The culture industry”. By this, he actually means that because of the media, consumers and the mass society are manipulated into passivity. (Adorno, 1989)The reading argues that even in bad economic circumstances, the effect of culture industry will make people happy and docile. This can be partly true nowadays because it cannot be argued that we are not manipulated nowadays by all sorts of media strategies but however our society has evolved and people are aware that media are always trying to manipulate and convince society to consume. People have become more careful before buying anything nowadays and we are now less ignorant as people in the past might have been. Life, according to Adorno has become commodified. Indeed, there are several examples demonstrating that life has been commodified. It was the case in the late 80’s when his book was published and is still the same 25 years later. Men always try to make money out of anything. Things which one thought that could not be traded is now available on market. More importance and value are given to processions which result in greediness and selfishness in certain cases. Adorno also states that the culture industry is a threat to “high arts”. Once again, this statement from Adorno can be furthermore discussed. High arts and perceptions vary from person to person and consumers now that the choice to agree of not if a work is of high standard or not. For example, in the past, graffiti’s, tattoos, etc. were not considered as a work of art. A lot of changes have happened in society and perceptions of arts changed introducing new forms of art. The author used arguments which were from my point of view more valid in his days than it is actually nowadays. The concept of the culture industry itself has changed during the last 25 years, which make Adorno’s article a very debatable and arguable one to its readers. Y. Gabriel describes consumers as “weak and malleable” describing us as muppets attached to...
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