Flashcards in Commodities Deck (34):
What is a commodity chain?
The process from raw materials to disposal
- raw materials -> manufacture -> purchase -> use -> disposal ( -> repurchase and reuse by someone else -> disposal)
If commodities are more than things, what are they?
- Commodities are assemblages of social relations
- embodying raw materials, labour, symbolic value
What is meant by pervasive consumerism?
- The idea that consumerism has become a way of life
- ‘There are few areas of everyday life not affected by or linked to processes and practices of consumption’ (Edwards 2000)
What does consumption mean?
“the desiring, acquiring and enjoying of goods and services which one has purchased,”
"the active seeking of personal gratification through material goods”
(Mansvelt, 2008) ‘A complex sphere of social relations and discourses which centre on the sale, purchase and use of commodities
What does social relations mean in terms of consumption?
- the interactions between places and things and the outcomes which eventuate from them
What does discourse mean in terms of consumption?
- It's not just the act of purchase that is important but the meanings inscribed in social practices/ thought
What is a commodity?
- An object of both consumption and exchange
- Can be goods, services, people, ideas
- We consume celebrities through branding
- Use and exchange value
What social relations are inscribed in a bike?
- Cost- expensive to start with but stays in the long run
- Statement about the environment
- Disadvantages- e.g. rain/ sweat
What is consumed along side a use value?
- The cultural/ symbolic meaning of a commodity
- also the anticipation of consumption
What does Dan Miller say?
- Objects can acquire agency due to their symbolic values
- I.e. an altar has agency because it can influence what people do
- Can be a good or bad thing- overconsumption/ envy?
What are the three types of spaces of consumption?
- Visible spaces of consumption
- Mundane spaces of consumption
- Socio-spatial connections
What are visible spaces of consumption?
- Often spectactular spaces
- Spaces which are in themselves consumed
- Examples- theme parks, festivals, malls
What are mundane spaces of consumption?
- geographies of everyday life
- Spaces where value is constructed
- Market, internet, workspaces
What are socio-spatial connections?
- Both the distance and embedded value are important variables
- the spatial and social constitution of consumption- production relationships
- the geographies and biographies of commodities
- consumer activism and politics
- e.g. global commodity chains, globalization
What are the socialities of consumprtions
- socio- spatial connections
- social relations in consumptions
What are social relations in consumption?
- Social relations are embedded in consumption
- moralities of consumption
- e.g. shopping, eating, discarding
What are subjectivities of consumption?
- Examples include advertising discourses, consumer narratives, studies of self-fashioning
- Consumption and identity formation (depends on perspective/approach)
- Geographies of consumption and race, gender, class etc.
- Social exclusion
When did modern consumption start?
- during the 18th century- the industrial revolution
- 3 reasons
- Rise of mass production
- Factory based wage labour more able to buy commodities
- Separation of production and consumption
What is the gender dimension of consumption?
- The idea that it's women who should procure commodities
How did consumption change in the the 19th century?
- emergence of capitalist systems led to uneven geographies
- Commodities become cheaper, more people can afford/ desire them
- Rise of the leisure class and importance of keeping up appearances
- Rise of emulation
What is a consumer society?
one that casts aside any lasting values in the name of an endless cycling of ephemera. It is a society of sacrifice and destruction
What was the business model of the Ford Model T?
- Reduce the cost through mass production thus make them within the grasp of more people and increase demand
What were the advantages of Veblen's key contributions to the study of consumption? (3)
- Highlights symbolic and vicarious nature of commodities (as opposed to exchange/use values)
- Consumerism can be both a marker of social cohesion and of social division
- Highlighted the gendering of consumption
What were the disadvantages of Veblen's key contributions to the study of consumption? (3)
- We're not all the same- limits to emulation
- Working class consumers were selective and developed their own styles
- active not passive consumption
How did consumption change in the 20th century?
Separation of consumption from production
Intensification of marketing
Growing link between commodities and identity formation
What's Jessop's spatial fix theory?
- Once a market in one place is saturated markets will appear elsewhere
- I.e. if everyone in the UK has a car, start selling them abroad
What are the alternatives to mass consumption?
- Cooperatives- owned by consumers
What is the cooperative?
- Owned by the consumers
- presented an alternative but were generally reduced in power
- In some cases quite significant
- In many industries- supermarkets, funeral, schools
What is post modernity?
- Accelerated in the mid 1970s
- Bricolage- mixing and matching styles and cultures
- Communities of consumption replace real communities- e.g. facebook groups
- Consumption has become more anonymous
What is degrowth?
- The idea that unmanaged economic growth decreases social wellbeing and environmental sustainability
- There are limits to oru resources
- Sustainable consumption does not exist
- abolition of growth as a goal
What are the 3 key goals of degrowth?
1. Reduce environmental impact
2. redistribute wealth
3. foster transition from materialistic to convivial lifestyle
What are the issues with degrowth?
- Would be really difficult to change- would need to reorganise whole economy
- just a grassroots project
- Only middle/ upper class people can really afford degrowth
What is conspicuous consumption?
- Spending money on luxury goods and services to publicly display economic power as a means of either attaining or maintaining social status
- i.e. buying a Mercedes rather than a Ford to look richer
- buying designer clothes to fit in in a more expensive community/ school