Toward A Critical Theory of Advertising By John Harms Douglas Kellner The University of Texas at Austin Since the emergence of "critical" media studies in the 's, a substantial literature has developed that examines and questions the role of mass communications and advertising within the institutional structures of contemporary capitalist societies. In contrast to "administrative" media studies that focus on how to use mass communications within the given political economic order to influence audiences, sell products, and promote politicians, critical research has addressed the social and cultural effects of mass communications and their role in perpetuating an unjust social order. One facet of critical analyses of advertising -exemplified by Goffman's Gender Advertisements, Williamson's Decoding Advertisements, and Andren, et. By contrast, works such as Schiller's Mass Communications and American Empire, Ewen's Captains of Consciousness, and Bagdikian's The Media Monopoly present broader historical analyses which locate advertising and mass communications within the history of contemporary capitalism and examine their impact on the larger social and political economic structure.
Understanding Capitalism Part IV: Capitalism, Culture and Society By - February 4, The impact of capitalism on culture and society has been a matter of great debate ever since its emergence in Europe as an economic system in the late s.
The impact of capitalism on culture and society is an issue that really stands apart from all of the other economic concerns.
In many ways, the cultural impacts of capitalism overshadow all other considerations of the system. The cultural impacts of capitalism are extremely varied, and this has left room for its proponents to champion its merits as well as its detractors to criticize its ill effects. Discussing the impact of capitalism on culture can be difficult.
Some of the key concepts relating to an analysis of the effects of capitalism on culture are profit motive, commodity, human desire, and the market economy. The capitalist system is based on private ownership and consolidation of the means of production, where the production of commodities is guided by profit motive to satisfy human desires.
What capitalism does do is it encourages people, in general, to engage in activity that is deemed valuable by other people. The Culture of Work At a certain level competition and profit motive, both of which are encouraged by the capitalist market system, provide a stimulus to action.
This encouragement to act is a major factor in the diversity of products that are produced by capitalist societies. In the way that the capitalist system works, however, reward is not always proportional to contribution.
A contest can be used as an example. Reward in a capitalist system is similar to a gold panning competition where the winner takes home a large portion of all the gold panned by everyone during the competition.
This competition will encourage people to participate and it will encourage people to work hard to try to collect as much gold as possible.
It will also, of course, encourage cheating and other such acts, as is to be expected in any competition. At the end of the competition everyone brings in their gold to have it weighed. What we can see here is that the person ranked 1 collected 10 times more gold than the person ranked This is what the first place winner would receive, 2, grams of gold.
Now, that person only collected 20 grams themselves, but they get a portion of everything that everyone else collected as well.
Of course the majority of people, though they would still have some gold after the competition, would have less than they actually collected. It would encourage productivity. The fact is, however, that this is a winner take all type system. The person at the top is getting a disproportionate amount of the gold that was collected by everyone.
The winner gets more than what he or she collects, and it is the fact that there is the potential to get so much more than you as an individual collect that drives the competition forward.
There is no discrimination in who is allowed to participate and there are no regulations that hold anyone back in particular. Indeed, it is also the case in this competition that the person who collects the most is also rewarded the most, so in that sense it is fair.
However, of course, the amount that the winner gets is dependant upon how much everyone else collects as well, because the winner is getting more than just what they collect as an individual, they are getting a share of what everyone collected, and the majority of participants take home less than they collect.
Likewise, working the hardest does not guarantee that you will win the competition, there are elements of chance involved, but working hard does increase your likelihood of winning.
It is by a similar fashion that modern capitalism promotes progress and makes fortunes. The Culture of Desire In addition to promoting a culture of work, capitalism also promotes a culture of desire.
This leads to a natural tendency in a market system for the sellers in the system to work to increase human desire, leading to the creation of more and stronger wants, and thus expanding the market.
While marketing is the most direct expression of this phenomenon, it really pervades the entire culture and is reflected in general entertainment, personal attitudes, religious values, the education system, and government policy.The Official Art of Capitalist Society By William M.
O'Barr One effort at defining advertising -- this modern phenomenon that is so much a part of contemporary life -- stands above all others. Jan 16, · Top 10 Disadvantages to Capitalism.
Louis Ryan January 16, Share 3K. Stumble if some have an excess of the resources in society, there are others who do not have enough.
When this is done by governments in dictatorships we call it propaganda, when companies do it, it’s called advertising.
They’re both forms of. Advertising is a central form of ideology in capitalist society "Advertising is the most influential institution of socialisation in modern society" (Jhally, . Capitalism has profound effects on culture and it is a mistake to think that that the market economy is neutral or that markets left to their own devices will work everything out for the best.
It is also a mistake to blame capitalism as the cause of cultural destruction. Some of this literature provides illuminating historical framing of the history of advertising and the consumer society, as well as providing sociological analysis, cultural and ideological critique, and political proposals to regulate or curtail advertising in contemporary capitalist societies.
It reduces the study of capitalism to the analysis of 1 Bruce R. Scott, Chapter 2, Capitalism, Democracy and Development, This chapter aims to introduce the political economy of capitalism in order to take note of two modes of governmental intervention, direct .