Browsing by Subject "consumer culture"

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  • Muurinen, Mira (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    In my master’s thesis (pro gradu) I analyze three novels that are set in the future: The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, The Circle by Dave Eggers, and Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. I suggest that while the novels share a great deal of tropes with such dystopian classics as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Geroge Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Yevgeni Zamyatin’s Мы (trans. We), they also differ from these novels to a significant degree. For this reason, I suggest approaching them as corporatocratic dystopias. In the analysis of generic dystopian characteristics in the novels, I refer to Erica Gottlieb’s (2001) notions of dystopian fiction. Another important literary concept in my study is satire, in the analysis of which I refer to Dustin H. Griffin’s (1994) views on satire as a playful and questioning genre. Central for all dystopias is the notion of a dystopian waning: the implied author of a dystopia exaggerates and ridicules in order to warn a contemporaneous reader against dystopian developments that take place in the reader’s own reality. The elementary difference between the three novels I analyze and Gottlieb’s characterizations concerns the novels’ description of tyranny. Traditionally, dystopias depict the supremacy of a state or a political party. In the novels I investigate in my thesis, the negative developments that take place in society are closely linked to the fact that corporations have gained power at the cost of political rulers, i.e. to the birth of a corporatocracy. I approach the question of power with the help of Antonio Gramsci’s (1975/1992) two dimensions of power: hegemony and dominance. I argue that unlike earlier dystopias, in which tyranny manifests itself in coercive deeds of dominance, the kind of corporatocracy the three novels depict functions to a great extent through hegemony, which is based on consent. In the three novels, corporations renew and uphold their power by maintaining excessive consumerism and mediatisation in society. In the analysis of these developments, I turn to Jürgen Habermas’ (1962/1989) views on mediatisation, and to Jean Baudrillard’s (1970/1998 and 1981/1994) and Joseph D. Rumbo’s (2002) conceptions on consumer society. The effects of consumerism penetrate also the private sphere in the novels, and thus questions about the body, sex, gender and sexuality are central to my thesis. Additionally, the novels seem to suggest that corporatocracy threatens reciprocity and togetherness between people, and alienates them from nature and from religion. I approach these themes with the help of Baudrillard’s theorisations on the body in consumer culture and Luce Irigaray’s (1985) discussions on patriarchy and women as commodities. The central outcome of my study is that the characters in the novels do not merely appear as identifiable victims of corporatocracy, or as fearless heroes who challenge the tyranny. Rather, as members of their fictional societies, the characters also contribute to the establishment of corporatocracy. I suggest that the dystopian warning all three novels eventually communicate leads directly to the behaviour, norms and ideologies of the characters, and finally, to human nature. Thus, through their characters, the implied authors of these novels encourage their readers to critically assess also their own roles as members of society.
  • Liiri, Jaana (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    This study deals with the carnivalistic consumer revolt and the urban event of Restaurand Day. Restaurant Day represents a case of a new kind of consumer movement in Finland. My research method is qualitative and I approach the phenomenon through Finnish media articles. The basis of my research lays on consumer culture theories and their contributions. As research material I use online versions of Finnish newspapers and magazines as well as online discussions connected to these media articles. Here and there, social media completes my research material too. Theoretical framework of this study consists mainly of experience consumption, carnivalism, activism, consumer movements, leisure, food culture and urban culture studies. This is a case study, which aims to a deeper understanding of phenomenon by analysing and interpreting the data. The unifying theme of this thesis is the concurrent role of consumers as pleasure seekers, rebels and consumer-producers. Other clear themes are transience, do-it-yourself, pop-up, copying ideas from around the world and comparisons between Finland and other countries. On Restaurant Day, consumers are looking for thrills and experiences. Restaurant Day is also connected to a concept of urban community. Working, doing and arranging things together is an important aspect and authentication of the individually perceived experientiality. Consumers also throw themselves into the role of producers by inventing imaginative restaurant concepts and by producing restaurant services to others. Restaurant Day’s main idea does not consist only of serving food and cooking, but rather deals with all matters achieved through food. The concept of medieval carnivalism and laughter by Mihail Bahtin seems to create great backgrounds for the modern phenomenon of nowadays consumer culture. This phenomenon can be described as carnivalistic consumer revolt that is expressed in a carnivalistic urban event. One basic idea of carnivalistic urban event is to criticise the unnecessary formality and rules in funny and enjoyable ways. This is the main idea of carnivals all over the world. In Restaurant Day, consumers appear as urban culture animators, rebels, consumer-producers and eventually, even social innovators. My research data contain a lot of descriptive words such as carnival, enjoyment, fun, revitalization, cheerfulness, creativity, imagination, enthusiasm and joy. These expressions represent the complex yet optimistic nature of the phenomenon. As the popularity and reputation of Restaurdant Days grows, its carnival spirit and consumer-producer ideas are being put to use in official contexts too. In the end, various actors and experts from different fields have been interested in adopting Restaurant Day spirit to their own innovations. One idea is to introduce Restaurant Day to the world as Finnish innovation: it’s an unique manifestation of the power of Finnish civil and consumer society.
  • Botez, Andrei; Hietanen, Joel; Tikkanen, Henrikki (2020)
    In this study, we critically examine the ongoing adoption of various posthumanist influences into the fields of marketing and consumer research from a theological perspective. By conducting a theological-historical assessment, we propose that it is not posthuman notions of human/technology relations, nor their broader context in the emerging non-representational paradigms, that mark radically new disruptions in the continuing restructuring of the disciplines of marketing and consumer research. Instead, we argue that what is taking place is an implicit adherence to a contemporary form of age-old Christian dogma. As a radical conjecture, we thus propose that an identification of certain similarities between Christian dogma and the grounds for various posthumanist frameworks suggest that posthuman thought may well herald the global dissemination of a far more elusive, authoritarian, and hegemonic system than that which posthumanists typically claim to have abandoned. Consequently, we elaborate on implications to developments in marketing thought.
  • Kurenlahti, Mikko Sakari; Salonen, Arto O. (2018)
    Due to the global challenges that are posed by the Anthropocene and the academic focus on the fragmented state of modernity, we extend an invitation for shared dialogue on the all-pervading nature of consumerism as the seemingly problematic ethos of Western consumer culture. To this end, we outline a way to approach consumerism as an implicit religion, theorized as having adopted functionalities related to explicitly faith-based traditions within secular settings. We suggest that a similar kind of holistic and multidimensional approach might be of great benefit in the implementation of sustainability, as this would allow, e.g., (i) a more holistic analysis of the all-pervading nature of consumerism; (ii) acknowledgement of the functional diversity of the phenomenon; (iii) recognition of the shallowness of the critique of consumerism as a way of life; and, (iv) shared dialogue across a spectrum of academic perspectives under a unified model. This approach problematizes standard interpretations of consumerism as being about the promotion of the individual against the collective and as leading to a general sense of purposelessness. The perspective of religion reveals how patterns of consumption become illuminated with meaning and connected to a shared way for individuals to articulate a sense of purpose in contemporary contexts.
  • Oiva, Mila (Routledge, 2014)
    Routledge Studies in the History of Russia and Eastern Europe