Consumer Culture and Cultural Sphere between Modernity and Postmodernism: An Imaginary Matrix
Globalisation and the internationalisation of commodity flows, migratory movements, information, and cultural forms are dissolving the classical congruence of nation, state, and society. It encourages and facilitates the emergence of global business, transnational companies, as well as global consumption around the world. The world of today is more homogenised than ever - yet cultural differences in the consumer culture are getting more obvious and important. As Kant predicted, ‘human beings could find themselves confronted with differences in their midst.’
The fundamental transformations initiated by globalisation contested and reconfigured the economic, political and cultural sphere. Thus with the emergence of 'identity politics' and postmodern definitions of culture and the global flow of images and brands, 'culture' need to be re-defined in the context of a consumer society. I argue that the critical questioning which has been raised by the connection of culture and identity in relation to consumerism needs to be rejoined by more philosophical modes of thinking. Here, I seek to question the adequacy of current models for understanding the interconnections between identity and consumerism, and point to the potential emergence of cosmopolitan forms of identity in a glocalised context while addressing the production of localities on a global level, exemplarily looking at the complex and ambiguous Chinese diaspora in Sydney (Australia).
In this study, the dichotomy of economic dimensions of culture and the cultural context of economics will be explored as areas of marketing discourse. Assuming a matrix imaginary of the contemporary consumer, I will quest to conceptualise the subject-object dichotomy or hybridity of the 'new' or 'other' consumer in a localised and historicised context between modernity and postmodernity.
Keywords: Globalisation, Consumerism, Marketing, Culture, Identity
Dr. Sabine H. Hoffmann
PhD candidate, Department of International Communication, Macquarie University