Consumption in an Age of Information

Consumption in an Age of Information

Consumption in an Age of Information

Consumption in an Age of Information

Synopsis

Consumption has become a global phenomenon. This expansion of consumption has occurred at the same time as notions of information and digitization have become all-pervasive in our media culture. As ever greater aspects of the world have come to be seen as "data", information has increasingly become the very currency of consumption. Consumption in an Age of Information analyzes this new relationship between information and consumption. Leading theorists and critics map this new terrain, ranging across high theory and popular culture--from E-Bay auctions to "smart homes", from the everyday consumption of MP3 files and DVDs to the rituals of media violence, from internet-surfing to the role of "speed" in contemporary culture.

Excerpt

Sande Cohen and R. L. Rutsky

A thesis in many accounts of the contemporary world is that an economic, technological, and cultural shift has occurred: from production to reproduction, modern to postmodern, monopoly capitalism to late capitalism, cultural mediation to cultural immediacies, industrial to informational technologies. Many of these accounts also depict this change as a movement, or shift in emphasis, from production-based practices to consumptionoriented practices. It is perhaps not coincidental, then, that the increasing role of consumption has coincided with the rising precedence accorded to concepts – and practices – of digitization and information. Information and consumption have become dominant practices in the world, not only in “Western” societies, but in many areas of the “non-Western” world, from Shanghai to Rio to Singapore.

As ever larger parts of global experience have come to be seen as “data,” information has become the very currency of consumption. We no longer suffer simply from the weight of history, as Marx suggested, but from the burden of an ever-increasing density of information. Indeed, as the quantity of information available for consumption has increased, so have the number of “top-ten” and “best of” lists, “buying guides,” “idiot's guides,” “FAQs,” and similar meta-texts offered to help us navigate the time-space of information.These meta-texts serve as handy how-to guides for the successful consumption of information. In an age of information, then, consumption has increasingly become a matter of meta-consumption. We constantly find . . .

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