Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

<< Gesellschaftliche Reproduktion und kulturelle Innovation. Aus semiotischer Sicht / Social Reproduction and Cultural Innovation. From a Semiotic Point of View

Consuming Signs, Space, and Pleasure: The Culturally Embedded Social Reproduction

Ewa Rewers (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan)



It is apparent that in recent years we have witnessed a dramatic upsurge of interest in the issue of consumer culture. Once on the periphery of social science disciplines, cultural studies, and semiotics has now been thrust increasingly towards the center of the fields. We can understand this in terms of two processes which must be interrelated: 1) The way in which culture is produced, reproduced and accumulated in the form of cultural capital (P. Bourdieu); and 2) the way in which the culture of Western societies seems to be consuming, evaluating, and conceptualizing (M. Featherstone). First, there is the view that cultural reproduction and cultural capital are used to draw the lines of social relationships (social capital, social reproduction). Second, there is the question of the cultural experience of consumption, its aesthetic evaluation, and theoretical perspectives of interdisciplinary studies on consumer culture. - From this perspective I argue that innovation, the "logic of the novelty" associated in semiotics with avant-garde in art, is given recently a new significanc through the saturation of the "logic of the commodity". Innovating signs, cultural spaces, and pleasures (eg. in city space), we can reproduce or renegotiate differences in lifestyle which demarcate social relationships (M. Gottdiener). This enables a general speed-up in the movement of the social reproduction process as well as new ways of dividing up in space a new cosmopolitan cultural elite and old cultural diasporas. It involves a rethinking of the concepts of transparency and hybridity with their implications concerning the relation between systems of signs produced by consumer culture and the social structure.

Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-10-09