Cultural Studies 4: Production and Consumption –Where Are the Consumers?
Outline • Starting Questions • Consumption: Marxist Views • Consumption: Post-Marxist & Populist Views • Other Views of Consumption Desire: Combining Marxism and Psychoanalysis • Production of Desire -- Slavoj Zizek • Desiring Machine: Deleuze and Gattari • Another example
Please comment: • The plot of romantic love in 瓊瑤‘s novels constructs weak women with dreamy eyes and no contact with economic reality; • The negative content of contemporary Taiwanese love songs about lovers’ breakup makes us dwell on Romantic sadness and fault-finding. • Violent films lead to violent behavior in teenagers. • The sensationalism on TV news program appeals to and results in the audience’s interest in and gossip over 八卦news． • The focus on and objectification of women’s bodies in music videos lead to rape of women in real life. • Contemporary inventions of telecommunication (e.g. Walkman, E-games, cell phone, the Internet) leads to human isolation. • 手機對消費者的主體建構有二：鈴聲召喚、漏接焦慮（張小虹）．
Consumption: Marxist Views (1) • regulation of consumption: e.g. • penopticon (Foucault; e.g. market survey; our identity defined in terms of numbers.) • production of consumption/consumers: e.g. • Culture industry and massification of consumers (Frankfurt school) • pseudo identity -- (no “real” human contact in Internet chatrooms) • creation of a false need – (Walkman—a recorder without recording functions; endless versions of Windows)
Consumption: Marxist Views (2) • production of consumption/consumers: e.g. • interpellation (Althusser e.g. “natural” response to/identification with the rings of cell phones, the exchange values of commodities sold in ads); • subject positions in discourse (Foucault; e.g. identifying with the protagonists in 瓊瑤‘s novels)
The Practice ofEveryday Life de Certeau • Dominant culture and the producers –cumbersome, powerful strategies of control; • Consumption • 主動的再創造("active re-creation" Poster 102); • Provisional, fragmentary and invisible re-writing and theft of the power imposed on him/her機動性、零碎的、不明顯的改寫或竊取, 利用「加於她身上的力量」在一個不屬於自己的地方「再創造」。 • tactics of evasion, resistance, disruption, opposition.
The Practice ofEveryday Lifee.g. • Walkman -- criticized for its “anti-social, atomizing effects,” blocking off the world and the “valuable.” e.g. “As long as they have the Walkman on, they cannot hear what the great tradition [Shakespeare, the Bible and so on] has to say.” • two functions of Walkman – “escape” and “enhancement” • possible choices: pop music, audio books, background music”; • “when I’m listening to the Walkman I’m not just tuning out. I’m also tuning in a soundtrack for the scenery around me.” (du Gay 89-93)
De-coding & Articulation and • Stuart Hall: preferred reading, negotiation, oppositional reading; • articulation (“expressing/representing” and “putting together” textbook p. 9) articulation of contradictory interpellations/subject positions.
Other Views of Consumption Combining Marxism and Psychoanalysis: Slavoj Sizek -- use Lacan to analyze popular culture Deleuze and Guattari –against Oedipus complex.
Production of Desire –Slavoj Zizek • The sublime object of desire: that which we most desire but cannot have we are the barred subject. S • Popular culture as Fantasy –false attempts to integrate the ‘impossible’ in the Symbolic, which actually avoids ‘the Real’ of our desire. • e.g. Hitchcock’s films– revelation and purging of the viewers’ Oedipus.
Production of Desire –Slavoj Zizek • Fundamental homology between Marx’s and Freud’s analysis of commodity fetishism and of dreams (the logic of abstraction and symbolization) • Dream: manifest content latent thought the unconscious desire • Commodity: chancy determination of commodity’s value determination by labor-time (a secret) the unconscious desire
Commodity Fetishism • 1. ‘a definite social relation between men, that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things’ (Marx 1974, 77) • 2. A misrecognition [of] what is really a structural effect of the network of relations between elements (exchange value or price) [as] “an immediate property of one of the elements” (commodity) (Sizek 23-24) to avoid the Real of our desire.
Against desire as lack. Against oedipalization, which issupported by Capitalism. The prohibited = the desired. Desire = a flow prior to representation and reproduction Desiring Machines and Nomadic Subject Marxism: production distribution consumption Exchange value = use value D/G vs. Marxism
Deleuze and Guattari: Oedipalization & Capitalism • It reduces all social relations to commodity relations • 1) deterritorializes desire by subverting(de-coding) all territorial groupings such as the church, the family, local community, etc.2) It also reterritorializes desire by channeling(re-coding) all production into the narrow confines of the equivalence-form (logic of exchange value); within the state, family, law,commodity logic, banking systems, consumerism, psychoanalysis and other normalizing institutions. (Cf. Bogue 88; Kellner 89)
Our Body as Desiring Machine • “It is at work everywhere, functioning smoothly at times, at other times in fits and starts. It breathes, it heats, it eats. It shits and fucks. What a mistake to have ever said the id. Everywhere it is machines. . . “ • produces a flow of desire; • Connected with or interrupted by the other machines; • e.g. organ-machine & an energy-machine; the breast; the mouth a machine coupled to it. (The mouth of the anorexic.) Hence we are all handymen: each with his little machines.
Desiring Machine • the production of production:continually producing production, of grafting producing onto the product, • e.g. A painting by Richard Lindner, 'Boy with Machine,' shows a huge, pudgy, bloated boy working one of his little desiring-machines, after having hooked it up to a vast technical social machine--which, as we shall see, is what even the very young child does. • Composed of heterogeneous and independent parts.
The body without organs • Not an organless body, but body without organization, or the deterritorialized body; an interconnected system of flows and forces. • “a body that breaks free from its socially articulated, disciplined, semioticized, and subjectified state (as an ‘organism’), to become disarticulated, dismantled, and deterritorialized, and hence able to be reconstituted in a new way” (Kellner 90-91)
Nomadic subjects • multiple personalities 1.consumption 2.when social codes [e.g. Oedipus] break down in their channelling of desire, then the nomadic subject is possible, traversing the lines of the desiring machines inscribed on the body w/o organs • Model of the giant egg traversed by lines with a wandering point of pure intensity
Another example • 為什麼台灣總是有時髦商品熱？ • 中共的威脅、打壓 閹割焦慮 否認機制（disavowal）: 不能說清楚，不能講明白 政治焦慮轉移到商品消費 • 1998 年夏天：葡式蛋塔滿足口腔期的匱乏．社會集體式的領聖餅． • 1999 年夏天：凱蒂貓收藏熱．收藏：肛門期的心理退化． • 張：既承認也否認泛政治化．
References • Deleuze and Guattari. Ronald Bogue. London New York : Routledge , 1989 • Psychoanalytic Criticism: A Reappraisal. Elizabeth Wright. Polity,1998. • Postmodern theory : critical interrogations. Steven Best and Douglas Kellner. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire : Macmillan , 1991 • du Gay, Paul, et al. Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of Sony Walkman. Culture, Media and Identities series. London: Sage, 1997. • 張小虹． 《在百貨公司遇見狼》． 聯合文學, 2002.