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Commercial Cultures in Global Capitalism

Are you a shopaholic? Or do you refuse to be seduced by advertising and branding? What persuades you to buy?

Sonic branding, guerrilla marketing, celebrity endorsements, customer service 'excellence' and multi-channel advertising are just some of the popular sales techniques that currently promote consumerism. Considerable energy is devoted to encouraging consumers to desire new fashions, to celebrate 'good design', to have feelings for brands and to immerse themselves in sensory experiences, without worrying too much about the ethics of their practices. Commercial Cultures in Global Capitalism takes you on a journey from production to marketing to consumption. It looks at fake brands and authentic street style, at advertising creatives and sales assistants, at self-service checkouts and hipster coffee shops.

In this module, I invite you to think globally. Do your experiences as a consumer differ from those of other consumers in other places? Is there a global 'consumer culture', or do local differences matter? Where are consumer goods produced, and how are they consumed? Do consumers have a responsibility to consume ethically? By the end, you will have thought deeply about consumerism in global capitalism and be ready to develop your own answer to the question: How is consumption made possible?

Module director:

Lynne Pettinger