New terms and ideas that I am being exposed to in the book Practices of Looking by Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright.
] Abstraction [
The quality of being conceived apart from concrete realities.
] Capitalism [
An economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth are held primarily by individuals and corporations, as opposed to cooperative or state owned means of wealth. Capitalism is based on an ideology of free trade, open markets, and individuality. In capitalism, the use value of goods (how they are used) matter less than their exchange value (what they are worth on the market). Marxist theory is a critique of the ways that the system of capitalism is based on inequality and exploitation of workers, allowing a few to prosper while many have only limited means.
] Flaneur [
A french term theorized explicitly by cultural critics such as Walter Benjamin, that refers to a person who wanders city streets taking in the sights, especially those of consumer society. In other words, the flaneur is a kind of window shopper, with the implication that the act of looking at the gleaming offerings of commodity culture is itself a source of pleasure wether or not one actually ever purchases anything. The flaneur is simultaneously in the world of consumerism and detached from the cityscape around him.
] Commodity Fetishism [
The process through which commodities are emptied of the meaning of their production (the labor that produced them and the context in which they were produced) and filled instead with abstract meaning (usually through advertising). In commodity fetishism, exchange value has so superseded use value that things are valued not for what they do but for what they cost, how they look, and what connotations can be attached from them.
] Pseudoindividuality [
Marxist term used to explain the way that mass culture creates a false sense of individuality in cultural consumers. Refers to the effect of popular culture and advertising that addresses the viewer/consumer specifically as an individual, as in the case of advertising actually claiming that a product will enhance one’s individuality, while it is speaking to many people at once. It is “pseudo” individuality because the message is predicated on many people receiving a message of individuality at the same time, hence not individuality but on homogeneity.
] Presumption of relevance [
In advertising, the manner of speaking that makes the presumption that the issues presented are of utmost importance. In the abstract world of advertisements, for instance, the statement that having shiny hair is the most important aspect of one’s life does not register with viewers as absurd because of the presumption of this as relevant within the ad’s message.
] Differentiation [
In advertising, the strategies to differentiate or distinguish qualities of one product or one brand for another. For example, Pepsi and Coke advertise similar products, but their advertising campaigns attribute very different qualities, such as youthfulness or world harmony, to their soft drinks.
] Marked/Unmarked [
In binary oppositions, the first category is understood to be unmarked (hence the “norm”) and the second category as marked, hence the other. In the opposition male/female, for instance, the category male is unmarked, thus dominant and the category female is unmarked, or not the norm. These categories of marked and unmarked are most noticeable when the norm is departed from. For instance, until quite recently, in the majority of advertising images, which have traditionally been directed at a white middle class audience, white models were unmarked (the norm, hence their race was unremarkable) whereas models of other races and ethnicities were marked (that is marked by race).
] Otherness [
Term used to refer to the category of subjectivity that is set up in binary opposition to dominant subjectivity. The Other refers to that which is understood as the symbolic opposite to the normative category, such as the slave to the master, the woman to the man, the black person to thew white person, etc. In contemporary theories that question the functions of binary oppositions in understanding society and social relations, the Other is that which defines the opposite of the dominant pole of the binary opposition (black being defined as not white) and which can be understood as disempowered through this opposition. The concept of the Other has been taken up by various theorists including Edward Said to describe the psychological dynamic of power that allows those who identify with a position of Western dominance to imagine a racial or ethnic Other, against which he or she may more clearly elaborate his or her own (dominant) self. In Freudian psychoanalytic theory, the mother is the original mirror-like other through whom the child comes to understand his or her self as an autonomous individual.
] Bricolage [
One of the key elements about this term is that we need to feel the dominant culture, we need to have the image of the dominant, and we need to feel the gap with something. This image that we construct to feel this gap becomes bricolage. El ejemplo es la decoración de Omar en undergrad donde él decoró, no porque quería, porque la norma era decorar, asi que trajo múltiples elementos dispares a formar un significado nuevo: I like this random thing, I like this other random thing, and even though they may not go together, I am going to bring them together because I think they do. One of the most important features is that it is a bit unconscious.