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Conspicuous Consumption

Conspicuous Consumption

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Conspicuous Consumption

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  1. Conspicuous Consumption • Who we are is what we buy • Manifest and Latent functions • Manifest function defined • Latent function defined • Examples

  2. Children and development • “childhood” as we think of it is a 20th century conception • Today’s children have more involvement with the “adult worlds” • Toddlers and tiarras • Can we “escape” culture?

  3. Consuming Kids • Kids as “ ” • “Marketers openly refer to parents as ‘gatekeepers’ whose efforts to protect their children form commercial pressures must be circumvented so that those children, in the rather chilling terms used by the markets, and be ‘captured, owned, and branded.” • Schools are turning to corporations and advertising to meet funding needs…

  4. Consuming kids • Kids purchased $6.1 billion in 1989 • …by 2002, they purchased $30 billion • …older kids spend even more (approx $101 per teen) • Rising numbers reflect rise in “treating children like adults” • Kids know most major “brands” by age 6

  5. Consuming kids • Children as “targets” • How kids spend their time – then and today • Table 1 p. 31 • The problems: • ADHD? • Anxiety • depression

  6. Consuming kids • Identified “needs” targeted by marketers • Marketing is targeted to boys or girls (except for food) • Boys want “ ” • Girls want “ ” • Sensory stimulation • Overcoming fears

  7. The Merchants of “Cool” • The dominant theme of children’s marketing • Cool is • Versatile, but some themes emerge

  8. The Merchants of “Cool” • Cool is • Versatile, but some themes emerge • The moving of “hip hop” into the mainstream • What’s a “juggalo” (“juggalette”)?

  9. The “cool hunters” • The social construction of childhood • What is “tween,” anyway? • Using scientific methodology to learn how we decide what to use, buy, eat, drink, etc.

  10. The evidence • A University of PA study finds that heavy television watchers have their view of the world shaped by what they see on tv… • Other studies show:

  11. The evidence • What do kids understand about ads? • The marketer’s view • When can they “identify” an ad? • Most research says by • When can they “understand” the purpose of an ad? • Do ads lead to purchases • The result of one experiment by Stanford med school

  12. Who’s responsible? • Parents vs. Marketers • What are the responsibilities of being a parent? • Parents are trapped, too…

  13. Cause and Effect? • Making inferences • Rival causes • Ecological fallacy • Fallacy of the perfect solution • Biases in the argument; the role of meaning and taking sides

  14. Social (and other) costs of consumption • The loss of community • The trouble of basing an economy on consumption alone • Two treadmills

  15. Social (and other) costs of consumption • The health impacts of consumption • Food, stuff, and the environment • How do we get all this stuff, and where does it go when we’re done? • Cancer, anyone?

  16. The Food Chain • We are all connected! • Indicator species – birds, fish, whales • “At what point does preliminary evidence of harm become definitive evidence of harm?” (p 9)

  17. Five lines of evidence linking chemicals to cancers • Some carcinogens are natural, but many more we have created • Everyone has been exposed • Cancer rates in general are rising • Low doses of common chemicals have caused cancers in lab animals. • Role of cancer on human cells

  18. Five lines of evidence linking chemicals to cancers • Limitations • Role of carcinogens is inferred • Release of carcinogens as an “uncontrolled experiment” (32) • No control group, exposures “are uncontrolled and multiple.”

  19. Cancer and kids • Rates up 22% between 1973 – 2000, though death rates were falling. • Leukemia (+ 35%) • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (+ 33%) • Soft tissue cancers (+ 50%) • Kidney cancer (+ 45%) • Brain and nervous system tumors (+ 44%)

  20. Cancer and kids • “…hard to blame children’s cancers on dangerous lifestyle choices.” • Childhood cancers are “consistently associated” with parental exposure to paint, petroleum products, solvents, and pesticides

  21. Tragedy of the Commons • Externalities • What happens to public land? • The “Tragedy of the Commons” • Social conflict over resources

  22. The limits of progress? • What is progress? • What is its limits? • How much is enough?