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For the past ten years the United States has experienced intensive industrial restructuring as the economy moved from one based on heavy manufacturing to one of services…
For the past ten years the United States has experienced intensive industrial restructuring as the economy moved from one based on heavy manufacturing to one of services (Bluestone & Harrison 1982; Kuttner 1983; Thurow 1984). This national transformation has had clear implications for housing, employment, and transportation. Economic growth has not been uniform but has focussed on both the East (Shank 1985) and the West Coast leaving the Midwest sweltering in a sharp recession (Rennert 1986). Massive intervention in the economy through high levels of military spending has produced a boom in such areas as Southern California and the Northeast.
Chester Whitney Wright (1879–1966) received his A.B. in 1901, A.M. in 1902 and Ph.D. in 1906, all from Harvard University. After teaching at Cornell University during…
Chester Whitney Wright (1879–1966) received his A.B. in 1901, A.M. in 1902 and Ph.D. in 1906, all from Harvard University. After teaching at Cornell University during 1906–1907, he taught at the University of Chicago from 1907 to 1944. Wright was the author of Economic History of the United States (1941, 1949); editor of Economic Problems of War and Its Aftermath (1942), to which he contributed a chapter on economic lessons from previous wars, and other chapters were authored by John U. Nef (war and the early industrial revolution) and by Frank H. Knight (the war and the crisis of individualism); and co-editor of Materials for the Study of Elementary Economics (1913). Wright’s Wool-Growing and the Tariff received the David Ames Wells Prize for 1907–1908, and was volume 5 in the Harvard Economic Studies. I am indebted to Holly Flynn for assistance in preparing Wright’s biography and in tracking down incomplete references; to Marianne Johnson in preparing many tables and charts; and to F. Taylor Ostrander, as usual, for help in transcribing and proofreading.
Since Karl Marx fashioned his theory of capitalism in the nineteenth century, scholars have continually updated Marxian theory to capture the pervasiveness of commodity…
Since Karl Marx fashioned his theory of capitalism in the nineteenth century, scholars have continually updated Marxian theory to capture the pervasiveness of commodity relations in modern society. Influenced by Georg Lukács and Henri Lefebvre, the members of the French avant-guard group, the Situationist International (1957–1972), developed an intransigent critique of consumer capitalism based on the concept of the spectacle. In the spectacle, media and consumer society replace lived experience, the passive gaze of images supplants active social participation, and new forms of alienation induce social atomization at a more abstract level than in previous societies. We endeavor to make two theoretical contributions: First, we highlight the contributions of the Situationist International, pointing out how they revised the Marxian categories of alienation, commodification, and reification in order to analyze the dynamics of twentieth century capitalism and to give these concepts new explanatory power. Second, we build a critical theory of consumer capitalism that incorporates the theoretical assumptions and arguments of the Situationists and the Frankfurt School. Today, critical theory can make an important contribution to sociology by critically examining the plurality of spectacles and their reifying manifestations. In addition, critical theorists can explore how different spectacles connect to one another, how they connect to different social institutions, and how spectacles express contradictions and conflicting meanings. A critical theory of spectacle and consumption can disclose both novelties and discontinuities in the current period, as well as continuities in the development of globalized consumer capitalism.
Drawing on research in the worlds of advertising, magazines and fashion, this paper discusses how celebrities mediate between different fields of cultural production. By focusing on celebrity endorsements in advertising, it also outlines how film actors and actresses, athletes, models, pop singers, sportsmen and women mediate between producers and consumers via the products and services that they endorse. As economic mediators, celebrities’ actions have important strategic and financial implications for the corporations whose products they endorse. As cultural mediators, they give commodities personalities and perform across different media, linking different cultural fields into an integrated name economy.