Advertising, Society, and Consumer Culture

Advertising, Society, and Consumer Culture

Advertising, Society, and Consumer Culture

Advertising, Society, and Consumer Culture

Synopsis

Designed as a core textbook for courses in Advertising and Society, "Advertising, Society, and Consumer Culture" develops an integrated perspective that gives students a framework for understanding past, present, and future issues in advertising communications. Chapter contents cover the entire range of social, political, cultural, regulatory, and economic issues that surround advertising and its role in modern society. The many social issues addressed include advertising and gender stereotyping, advertising to vulnerable audiences, and the distribution of wealth in consumer society. "Advertising, Society, and Consumer Culture" intertwines the development of the consumer culture with its coverage of the historical, political, regulatory, and ethical issues of advertising. It includes clear, comprehensive tables that chronicle historical developments and key legal cases. The text is readable for undergraduates but provides enough depth to serve as a graduate-level text. Including extensive notes and a bibliography, it can be adopted independently, or alongside its companion volume, "Readings in Advertising, Society, and Consumer Culture".

Excerpt

Advertising is inherently controversial. There are as many ways to study controversies in advertising as there are controversies. Whether the focus is on a single ad, a class of ads, or advertising as an institution, there’s no shortage of literature about the mixed value of advertising in our culture. So why do we need yet another book about advertising and society? Or, more importantly, why do we need this particular book?

We need this book because it provides a philosophical map of advertising issues seen through the lens of classical liberalism, which can guide us through issues we face now and in the future. Based on the work of some of the most revered scholars in communication including James W. Carey, Vincent P. Norris, David M. Potter, and Kim B. Rotzoll, our treatment offers a foundation based on enduring wisdom. We’ve adopted Carey’s institutional view, which approaches the study of advertising from a rich historical and philosophical context. Equally significant, we’ve adopted Rotzoll’s explanation of the classical liberal model. As Rotzoll and his coauthors argued, many of the recurring controversies in consumer culture can be traced to contradictions inherent in the model on which our society was based. To gain the historical perspective, we turned to David Potter, who called attention to the importance of wealth as a prerequisite to not only advertising but to democracy itself. When he coined the expression “the institution of abundance,” he defined advertising as emblematic of consumer culture long before consumer culture had fully developed. Finally, to round out these views, we turned to Vincent Norris, whose work challenged the naïve, mechanistic view of advertising as simply information by pointing to advertisers’ economic incentives. In the process, Norris also offered a simple, elegant, three-part definition of institutions that makes Carey’s view operational. These authors’ views form a foundation that supports every chapter in the book. Their writings and other articles about specific issues can be found in the companion book—Readings in Advertising, Society, and Consumer Culture, edited by Roxanne Hovland, Joyce Wolburg, and Eric Haley.

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