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Experiential Consumption: a critical journey Dr Matt Frew.

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1 Experiential Consumption: a critical journey Dr Matt Frew

2 Lecture Content  Consumption: so what!  Thinking Cultural Consumption  Choice & Cultural Consumption  Hyper-consumption: a problem?  Consumption: so what!  Thinking Cultural Consumption  Choice & Cultural Consumption  Hyper-consumption: a problem?

3 Consumption: so what!  Consumption:  An engrained part of modern everyday life BUT a recent theoretical phenomenon  Lies at the core of the rise of the experience economy and global events industry  However, consumption and consumerism are not the same thing  Consumption refers to the ‘selection, purchase, use, maintenance, repair and disposal of any product or service’ (Campbell, 1995: 102)  Consumerism is ‘concerned with the hidden properties of consumption, and, in particular, the ideological dimensions of consumer society’ (Miles, 2001: 60)  Post-1945s western society has increasingly become affluent with a leisure age - focus and life satisfaction moved form work and production and cultural consumption began to boom  Consumption:  An engrained part of modern everyday life BUT a recent theoretical phenomenon  Lies at the core of the rise of the experience economy and global events industry  However, consumption and consumerism are not the same thing  Consumption refers to the ‘selection, purchase, use, maintenance, repair and disposal of any product or service’ (Campbell, 1995: 102)  Consumerism is ‘concerned with the hidden properties of consumption, and, in particular, the ideological dimensions of consumer society’ (Miles, 2001: 60)  Post-1945s western society has increasingly become affluent with a leisure age - focus and life satisfaction moved form work and production and cultural consumption began to boom

4 Consumption: so what!  Four conditions for consumer culture - people, excess and exchange, consumption legitimation, judgment and identity consumption (Belk, 1995)  So today, in the West, we now live in consumer culture where society is ‘increasingly organized around consumption’ (Abercrombie, et al, 2000: 72) with needs have been systematically replaced by wants, desires and even dreams.  We are now viewed as ‘consumer citizens’ where individualism is celebrated through communities of consumption (Giddens, 1995)  However, consumerism does not and cannot sit still: :  Comfortable with style rather than function  Live in a world of disposability  Planned obsolescence  Consumerism demands perpetual consumption  The global growth in events industries testifies to a search for new forms of consumption  Four conditions for consumer culture - people, excess and exchange, consumption legitimation, judgment and identity consumption (Belk, 1995)  So today, in the West, we now live in consumer culture where society is ‘increasingly organized around consumption’ (Abercrombie, et al, 2000: 72) with needs have been systematically replaced by wants, desires and even dreams.  We are now viewed as ‘consumer citizens’ where individualism is celebrated through communities of consumption (Giddens, 1995)  However, consumerism does not and cannot sit still: :  Comfortable with style rather than function  Live in a world of disposability  Planned obsolescence  Consumerism demands perpetual consumption  The global growth in events industries testifies to a search for new forms of consumption

5 Thinking Cultural Consumption  The dominance of consumer culture means consumer behaviour is key and has been variously examined (see Holt, 1997):  Integration - consumption sees the self and object become one and thus access symbolic or status value  Experience - emphasis is on the subjective emotive aspect of consumption ‘consumer experience is increasingly both the object and medium of brand activity’ (Moore, 2003: 42)  The dominance of consumer culture means consumer behaviour is key and has been variously examined (see Holt, 1997):  Integration - consumption sees the self and object become one and thus access symbolic or status value  Experience - emphasis is on the subjective emotive aspect of consumption ‘consumer experience is increasingly both the object and medium of brand activity’ (Moore, 2003: 42)  Play - consumption fuels another desire being used to facilitate emotive and empathetic communication (e.g. the event is the space and materials around which empathetic experience is shared building and intensifying a collective experiential web)  However, much of this intensifies processes of classification - how consumer use consumption practices to self-classify - consumption practices construct identity with and against others.  Play - consumption fuels another desire being used to facilitate emotive and empathetic communication (e.g. the event is the space and materials around which empathetic experience is shared building and intensifying a collective experiential web)  However, much of this intensifies processes of classification - how consumer use consumption practices to self-classify - consumption practices construct identity with and against others.

6 Thinking Cultural Consumption  Consumer culture appears to offer variety, choice, opportunity (think about the array of events and the experiences they offer)  However, the consumer is NOT king rather they engage in form of ‘pseudo- sovereignty’ - the trick of consumerism is to make the consumer to feel they are king and in control  Consumption is not so free or neutral - how open is events consumption?  Remember consumerism masks and reflects an ideology - it makes consumption feel right, natural and the only way to live  Consumerism is tied to issues of structure/control and agency/freedom - Marxism helps here  Consumer culture appears to offer variety, choice, opportunity (think about the array of events and the experiences they offer)  However, the consumer is NOT king rather they engage in form of ‘pseudo- sovereignty’ - the trick of consumerism is to make the consumer to feel they are king and in control  Consumption is not so free or neutral - how open is events consumption?  Remember consumerism masks and reflects an ideology - it makes consumption feel right, natural and the only way to live  Consumerism is tied to issues of structure/control and agency/freedom - Marxism helps here

7 Choice & Cultural Consumption?  Marx:  History is one of class struggle - consumer capitalism is simple one such period  Superstructure supports the ideology of consumer capitalism and masks its exploitation  commodification process (sell/exchange/value system) drives priorities and enslaves individual to the marketplace.  Capitalism resulted in commodity fetishism where: ‘the commodity has a mystical quality…and are therefore ascribed a significance beyond their use-value’ (Miles, 2001: 62)  Marx:  History is one of class struggle - consumer capitalism is simple one such period  Superstructure supports the ideology of consumer capitalism and masks its exploitation  commodification process (sell/exchange/value system) drives priorities and enslaves individual to the marketplace.  Capitalism resulted in commodity fetishism where: ‘the commodity has a mystical quality…and are therefore ascribed a significance beyond their use-value’ (Miles, 2001: 62)

8 Choice & Cultural Consumption?  Consumerism is dominant and an important vehicle as it: ‘abstracts cultural and financial value from material production; it plays an integral role in the internationalization of investments and production, and it represents a significant shift in the derivation of social meaning’ (Zukin, 1990: 53)  Given experiential consumptions are the new fetishised commodities of consumerism events and festivals is seen as a market winner: ‘If you want to create tremendous value in today’s marketplace, you should consider designing a meaningful brand experience’ (Norton, 2005: 24).  The events consumer and their consumption patterns are now the source of critical interest  Consumerism is dominant and an important vehicle as it: ‘abstracts cultural and financial value from material production; it plays an integral role in the internationalization of investments and production, and it represents a significant shift in the derivation of social meaning’ (Zukin, 1990: 53)  Given experiential consumptions are the new fetishised commodities of consumerism events and festivals is seen as a market winner: ‘If you want to create tremendous value in today’s marketplace, you should consider designing a meaningful brand experience’ (Norton, 2005: 24).  The events consumer and their consumption patterns are now the source of critical interest

9 Choice & Cultural Consumption?  Evens consumers are now profiled and matched to types of event particularly in relation to economic gain they can deliver for organizations, communities and cities  Categories of event consumer all with differential impact on the event - Extensioners, Event Visitors, Home Stayers, Runaways and Changers (Preuss, 2005)  From category to control - predict, manage and manipulate?  However, is experiential consumptions faced with the paradox of hyper- consumption?  Evens consumers are now profiled and matched to types of event particularly in relation to economic gain they can deliver for organizations, communities and cities  Categories of event consumer all with differential impact on the event - Extensioners, Event Visitors, Home Stayers, Runaways and Changers (Preuss, 2005)  From category to control - predict, manage and manipulate?  However, is experiential consumptions faced with the paradox of hyper- consumption?

10 The Problem of Hyper-consumption  Paradox of consumption?:  Consumerism promises an outlet from our dissatisfaction with daily reality - an means of escape, freedom and release BUT: ‘Consumption gives us the belief that we can fulfill our fantasies. But the actual pleasures afforded by consumption always fall short of that to which we aspire’ (Miles, 2001: 70)  Worrying hyper-consumption? - ‘The world of the hypermarket, which is the effective reality of the hyper-industrial epoch, is, as the place of barcode readers and cash registers, where to love must become synonymous with to buy’ (Stiegler, 2006: 2)  Moving to a time of disaffected consumption bound to, but frustrated by, consumption - a future problem for the event experience?  Paradox of consumption?:  Consumerism promises an outlet from our dissatisfaction with daily reality - an means of escape, freedom and release BUT: ‘Consumption gives us the belief that we can fulfill our fantasies. But the actual pleasures afforded by consumption always fall short of that to which we aspire’ (Miles, 2001: 70)  Worrying hyper-consumption? - ‘The world of the hypermarket, which is the effective reality of the hyper-industrial epoch, is, as the place of barcode readers and cash registers, where to love must become synonymous with to buy’ (Stiegler, 2006: 2)  Moving to a time of disaffected consumption bound to, but frustrated by, consumption - a future problem for the event experience?

11 The Problem of Hyper-consumption  Experiential consumption represents a new ‘focus and playground for individual consumption’ (Bauman, 1988: 60) but one where the consumer cycle can become self-destructive killing the experience and so the raison d’etre of the event  Also reflects an arena of symbolic competition, freedom and exclusion, display, domination and distinction  In the circuit of cultural consumption events and the experiences offer levels of meaning that is symbolic, can be read and convert. This is the focus of lecture three  Experiential consumption represents a new ‘focus and playground for individual consumption’ (Bauman, 1988: 60) but one where the consumer cycle can become self-destructive killing the experience and so the raison d’etre of the event  Also reflects an arena of symbolic competition, freedom and exclusion, display, domination and distinction  In the circuit of cultural consumption events and the experiences offer levels of meaning that is symbolic, can be read and convert. This is the focus of lecture three

12 References  Abercrombie, N., Hill, S. and Turner, B. (2000) The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology, Harmondsworth, Penguin.  Bauman, Z. (1988) Freedom, Buckingham, University Press  Campbell, C. (1995) ‘The Sociology of Consumption’, in Acknowledging Consumption: a Review of New Studies, Miller, D. (ed), London, Routledge.  Belk, R. (1995) Collecting in a Consumer Society, London, Routledge.  Holt, D. (1995) How Consumers Consume: a typology of consumption practices’, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 22  Horne, J. (2006) Sport in Consumer Culture, London, Palgrave.  Miles, S. (2001) Social Theory in the Real World, London, Sage.  Moore, E. (2003) ‘Branded Spaces: the scope of new marketing’, Journal of Consumer Culture, Vol 3, 1:  Norton, D. (2005) ‘Will Meaningful Brand Experiences Disrupt Your Market?’, Design Management Review, 16, 4.  Preuss, H. (2005) The economic impact of visitors at multi-sport events’, European Sport Management Quarterly, 5,  Seigler, B. (2006) ‘The Disaffected Individual’, working paper for the Ars Industrialis seminar, Suffering and Consumption (Feb, 2006)  Zukin, S. (1990) ‘Socio-spatial prototypes of a new organization of consumption: the role of real cultural capital’, Sociology, Vol 24, 1:  Abercrombie, N., Hill, S. and Turner, B. (2000) The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology, Harmondsworth, Penguin.  Bauman, Z. (1988) Freedom, Buckingham, University Press  Campbell, C. (1995) ‘The Sociology of Consumption’, in Acknowledging Consumption: a Review of New Studies, Miller, D. (ed), London, Routledge.  Belk, R. (1995) Collecting in a Consumer Society, London, Routledge.  Holt, D. (1995) How Consumers Consume: a typology of consumption practices’, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 22  Horne, J. (2006) Sport in Consumer Culture, London, Palgrave.  Miles, S. (2001) Social Theory in the Real World, London, Sage.  Moore, E. (2003) ‘Branded Spaces: the scope of new marketing’, Journal of Consumer Culture, Vol 3, 1:  Norton, D. (2005) ‘Will Meaningful Brand Experiences Disrupt Your Market?’, Design Management Review, 16, 4.  Preuss, H. (2005) The economic impact of visitors at multi-sport events’, European Sport Management Quarterly, 5,  Seigler, B. (2006) ‘The Disaffected Individual’, working paper for the Ars Industrialis seminar, Suffering and Consumption (Feb, 2006)  Zukin, S. (1990) ‘Socio-spatial prototypes of a new organization of consumption: the role of real cultural capital’, Sociology, Vol 24, 1: 37-56


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