Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

The World of Haves and Have Nots: The Birth of a Violent Consumer Society in the Age of New Media

Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

The World of Haves and Have Nots: The Birth of a Violent Consumer Society in the Age of New Media

Article excerpt


In the modern era that we are experiencing, individuals exist to consume; instead of believing, being righteous or finding themselves. During pre-modern times, people were hunting and gathering only because they had to eat. Regarding these contemporary ages, pleasure and the possessions that give pleasure have become prominent. From the moment that it came to light, consumption has been holding a more and more important place in the everyday lives of people. This is the age in which objects keep hold of people. Today we, the people, are depended on the objects, not vice-a-versa:

We live by object time: by this I mean that we live at the pace of objects, live to the rhythm of their ceaseless succession. Today, it is we who watch them as they are born, grow to maturity and die, whereas in all previous civilizations it was timeless objects, instruments or monuments which outlived the generations of human beings (Baudrillard, 2005, p.25)

In the last instance the modern human's main tendency is to consume. The modern person can only exist by consuming. In the world and in Turkey, specifically, actors are both discussing and experiencing the globalization and one of the branches of globalization is the globalized consumer culture. In developing countries like Turkey, the effect of globalized consumer culture is felt stronger. Regarding this, Toh indicates that: "as we rethink the causes of conflict and violence worldwide, we are challenged to deeply transform excessively consumerist lifestyles that fuel policies and structures of inequity and human rights violations" (2001, p.l).

The research on new media's influence on the construction of a violent consumer society has been complicated and contradictory. According to some studies that will be mentioned in further sections of this study, the new media have a damaging social impact and cause a troubled society to emerge. On the other hand, other studies are in support of new media and emphasize its benefits for the people. But, in general, both the new and traditional media have been accused by researchers and critics because of producing sexist, homophobic, racist, ageist materials, and other aggressive social content. Regarding this issue the effect of the harmful media material on adolescents and children is a matter of discussion. These issues include: "pornography and the degradation of women and sexuality; advertising manipulation; and the promotion of excessive consumerism and materialism" (Kellner, 2004, p.209).

Aforementioned studies were divided into two regarding the impact of new media. In support of the opinion that new media has negative effects some claim that the violence disseminated by the media contributes to the violence among society. As an example of this are the massacres created by adolescents, given by the authorities which underline the powerful effects of media on young people (Boleik, 2012). Also the American Psychological Association (APA, 2005) has announced its policy statements about the relationship between the media violence relationship and social tensions. Regarding this statement about media sourced violence, an open letter to the APA written by 230 media scholars, psychologists and criminologists utters their request that the APA shall give up its policy statements and avoid making causal attributions (Consortium of Scholars, 2013). This case shows that there is still no common agreement among the media scholars about the issue of violence in the media.

Regarding this globalized world, the boundaries that separate the countries, the societies from each other, became blurred with the impact of swiftly developing new media tools. Individuals from all over the world could communicate with each other and share their experiences. This revolutionary change in the industry of communication also developed the freedom of expression and it strengthened the social networks between people. On the other hand, new media has negative impact on personal relationships; also the tools of new media make consumption easier for its users. …

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