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September 22nd


Chanel lipstick. Manifest Function. To enhance a woman's appearance ... Chanel brand is a ... whether it is $0.99 label or a $25 Chanel lipstick. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: September 22nd

September 22nd
  • Attendance and participation cards
  • Hand in CCA Research topic
  • Questions about CCA?
  • Lecture Four Consumer Culture
  • Film Overspent American
  • Exercise Consumer culture thru Ads
  • Homework
  • Introduction to Sociology Chapter 5
  • Outline for essay 1

Lecture Four
  • American Culture Consumer Culture

What is Culture?
  • Culture is the lens through which we see the
  • Gives shape and meaning to our daily lives
  • Culture is a social process we create and
    recreate culture
  • Culture is shared, learned, taken for granted,
    symbolic, and it varies across time and place

Material and Non-material Culture
  • Material Culture (or material goods)
  • The material objects we create are usually the
    first indicators of cultural differences
  • Non-material culture
  • Beliefs the truth of it all
  • Values the right and wrong
  • Norms the rules
  • Rituals practice and reaffirmation
  • Language the heart of it all

US Dominant Culture Consumer Culture
  • The dominant culture in American society today is
    the consumer culture
  • A consumer culture in one in which we define
    ourselves and our value in society in terms of
    goods we purchase
  • Consumer culture both unifies us and
    differentiates us from one another

The Ritual of Shopping
  • In a consumer society consumption is a process by
    which we reflect our values, beliefs, and norms.
  • Shopping today has become a cultural ritual that
    reinforces our beliefs and values

Overspent American
Overspent American
  • In the book Overspent American sociologist Juliet
    Schor found that in a consumer culture where
    our social value is determined by the goods we
    consume we are participating in consumption
  • We work more to make more money to be able to
    spend more money on stuff
  • And increasingly we go into debt to buy more stuff

Consumption Competition
  • Consumption Competition the process by which we
    consume goods to demonstrate our status to others
  • Schor says in consumption competition we focus on
    visible goods and primarily what she calls the
    Big Three
  • The house we live in
  • The car we drive
  • The clothes we wear

Symbols of Consumer Culture
  • Brands act as symbols of social status in
    consumption competition
  • If you look around you on any given day you can
    see how ubiquitous brands have become in our
    society they are on everything and everywhere
  • Research has shown that brands are powerful
    reflectors of latent functions

Our Consumption, Our Values
  • If we are consuming goods today to gain and
    reflect social status in society today, what
    values beliefs are reflected in our consumption
    of material culture?

Socialized into a Consumer Culture
  • Socialization the lifelong process of social
    interaction through which individuals acquire
    self identity and the social skills needed for
    survival in society
  • Socialization is central to society, without
    learning the culture of a society we could not
    get along in that society
  • However, when we act based on our cultural ideas,
    values, and beliefs we recreate that society

Mass Media and Socialization
  • There are many agents of socialization in our
    society today family, school, peer groups but
    one of the most powerful socializing agents today
    is the mass media and, more specifically,
  • We live in an advertising environment
  • Ads occupy a vast cultural space in our lives and
    are present in virtually all social contexts from
    the labels visible on our clothes to the ads on

Role of Mass Media
  • Mass Media plays a central role in the consumer
  • Increases the symbolic value of Brands through
    advertising that associates latent functions with
  • Stretches our reference groups, whereby we feel
    we are competing with the people on TV (TV shows
    like MTV Cribs is a good example) and not just
    our neighbors
  • How much influence does mass media have?
  • Adults see an average of 2000 advertisements a
  • Children see an average of 40,000 commercials a
  • We use 6.5 hours of mass media a day

Conspicuous Consumption
  • According to the sociologist Thorstein Veblen in
    his book The Theory of the Leisure Class
    conspicuous consumption isa heightening or
    reaffirmation of social status.
  • In other words, the choices regarding the goods
    we consume are related to how those goods will
    heighten our status in society
  • Products that are visible to others are the ones
    that we tend to buy with latent functions in mind

The Functions of Consumption
  • In a consumer society consumption has both
    manifest and latent functions
  • A manifest function is an intended or expressed
  • The manifest function of goods is the intended
  • A latent function is an unintended or unexpressed
  • The latent function of goods is the one that
    gains meaning only in the social context and
    social interaction

Advertisements and Socialization
  • The goal of advertising is to sell products and
    one of the ways advertising does this is to
    associate latent functions with the products
  • Often ads tell us we lack something the is
    socially valued, but we can have it we buy the
    product advertised

Lets look at some products and think about the
manifest and latent functions
Cadillac Escalade SUV
  • What are the Manifest and Latent Functions?

Cadillac Escalade SUV
  • Manifest Function
  • A car is a product that helps you get from point
    A to point B
  • An SUV fits a larger of people and carries a
    large amount of stuff
  • Latent Function
  • We spend a lot of time in our cars in American
    society and this car demonstrates to others that
    you can afford to buy an expensive car

Chanel Lipstick
  • What are the Manifest and Latent Functions?

Chanel lipstick
  • Manifest Function
  • To enhance a womans appearance
  • Latent Function
  • Lipstick is the most visible makeup product
    because women take it out in public to reapply
    throughout the day
  • Chanel brand is a symbol of wealth
  • The formula for womens lipsticks are almost
    identical whether it is 0.99 label or a 25
    Chanel lipstick. Studies have show that women
    will spend less on beauty products they only use
    at home and more on the name brand beauty
    products that are socially visible

Apple iPod
  • What are the Manifest and Latent Functions?

Apple iPod
  • Manifest Function
  • Listen to music, watch videos, etc.
  • Latent Function
  • The design of the iPod is unique white ear
    buds, slim design, colorful
  • iPods have a cool factor about them new, up
    to date technology
  • iPods are much more expensive that other MP3

Your Ads
  • For each ad you picked, answer the following
  • What is the manifest function of the product
  • What is the latent function associated with the
    product in the ad?
  • What reference group is the ad appealing to?
  • Do you think the ad focuses more on the latent or
    manifest function?

Consumer Society
Are We Prisoners of Socialization?
  • Socialization is powerful, but we have a self
  • We are unique individuals and we are actively
    involved in the construction our own identities
  • We can examine and find common cultural message
    about what it means to be valued in American
    society, but as individuals we can (and do) chose
    to accept or reject those cultural ideas
  • This is how cultural change happens we recreate
    culture when we start to redefine our values,
    beliefs, and norms
  • Society shapes individualsbut we also shape