Why Is The Study Of Consumption Central To How We Understand How The Media Works? Examining Sociological Issues Surrounding Media And Consumption.

948 words - 4 pages

"Why is the study of consumption central to how we understandhow the media works?"The study of consumption is essential to understanding how the media works because all media are consumed in a particular way. Therefore, understanding how and why different media are consumed is essential in learning why different types of media are successful or not.In order to understand consumerism we first of all need to understand the consumer. Unlike the term "customer", which is defined in terms of a specific firm, the term consumer generally refers to anyone that engages in consumer behaviour. Consumer behaviour can be defined thus;"The decision process and physical activity individuals engagein when evaluating, acquiring, using or disposing of goods andservices."In the traditional sense of the word consumerism has been defined strictly in terms of economic goods and services. However, in recent years this viewpoint has been broadened so that many scholars now do not consider a monetary exchange necessary for consumption to take place. In light of this new expanded view of consumerism it can be said that all aspects of the media, from television to free information available on the World Wide Web can be included in consumerism. Therefore, the way in which consumers decide which media to consume is central to the study of the media.I believe that in modern society consumerism and the mass media go hand in hand. They each have a huge part in the success of the other. Without the mass media which is perhaps the most important part of marketing, consumerism would not be as much a part of everyday life as it is today. And without our culture of consumerism the mass media itself would not be as widely consumed and therefore, not the huge industry that it is in itself today. At this point I feel that I need to point out what Karl Marx defined as a "commodity". Marx saw a commodity as product that has not been produced for direct personal consumption, but as a product specifically designed to be sold in the market place. I believe that there can be no argument that today's markets are flooded with such commodities. Even though Marx predicted the rise of such consumer based capitalism it may be fair to say that he "underestimated... the everyday impact of the commodity and of consumption, to the extent that consumerism actually became a way of life." I believe that the rise of consumer culture coinciding with the rise of the mass media cannot be a coincidence. The mass media is in effect the perfect ally of consumer culture.In modern society you can rarely watch, read or listen to a particular form of media for any length of time without being subjected to advertising of some sort. It is also rare that the advertisements to are subjected to are for things that you actually need. For example,...

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