Present Consumer Society and the Self

Albert Camwell argues that conformity in the current consumer culture is all about announcing what is out.

The present consumer culture is all about not presenting a certain image of yourself.  This has always been the goal put forth by marketing, but the modern way has seemed to focus more on a fear of exclusion than a want of inclusion.

The theory that Edward Berneys crafted using the work of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, was that mass control was a necessary and positive factor that would lead to the best democracy and capitalist market possible.  The idea Freud presents about human’s irrational desire was that unless controlled, they posed a serious danger.  The ideas of conformity in the present consumer society do not fully follow this idea of conformity any longer.  Conformity still exists, but there is no longer a single ideal to conform to.

Conformity in the current consumer culture is all about announcing what is out.  Popular culture is comprised of multiple subcultures that each has their own basic style of conformity. Now the main process by which people like Bernays try to influence the public is by convincing people what to no longer like.

What has resulted is marketers creating a consumer culture that is constantly moving things so that what you currently have is out of style.  Your illogical desires are only being temporarily met.  Once the satisfaction expires, there is no clear way to conform into a singular society like Freud and Bernays suggested.  There are multiple markets that advertisers have set up for you to conform to and they are each also defined by what they not are.  The grouping have trends that clash with one another meaning what is in with one, is out with another.

This modern consumer society still adheres to the basic principles laid out by Edward Bernays, but has muddled it so now the modern consumer can no longer notice it.


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