Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Here, There, and Nowhere
The publishing date of 1995 for Goss' analysis of geodemographics and Leslie's study of globalized marketing and advertising means that the Internet hadn't really entered the international picture yet and challenged the notion of culture and lifestyle as essentially bound to physical space/place. Goss describes geodemographics as firmly anchoring individuals, and their consumption patterns, in physical space (a notion that Gans had also argued in a reading for Week 2). Leslie argues that global marketing and advertising firms, by cloaking globalized production strategies in the visual and textual rhetoric of multiculturalism and the campaign for human rights, constructed the illusion of a transnational civic culture (see especially her discussion of the United Colors of Benetton marketing campaign). Ten years later, both of these analyses are questionable in light of the global information network's impact on society and culture. Re: Goss, the question is whether communities (or at least collectives) of consumption are forming that have no physical referents but are purely self-referencing in terms of cyberspace and the culture it enables. It's a matter of cyberdemographics, not geodemographics. Re: Leslie, transnational civic culture is no longer (and I would argue never was) a marketing construction but in fact is an emerging lifeworld phenomenon but one to which the system-level advertising and marketing appartus caters assiduously because of its consumption practices.