Authentic The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture

ISBN-10: 0814787142
ISBN-13: 9780814787144
Edition: 2012
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Description: Brands are everywhere. Branding is central to political campaigns and political protest movements; the alchemy of social media and self-branding creates overnight celebrities; the self-proclaimed “greening” of institutions and merchant goods is  More...

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Book details

List price: $44.95
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 11/1/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 279
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.056
Language: English

Brands are everywhere. Branding is central to political campaigns and political protest movements; the alchemy of social media and self-branding creates overnight celebrities; the self-proclaimed “greening” of institutions and merchant goods is nearly universal. But while the practice of branding is typically understood as a tool of marketing, a method of attaching social meaning to a commodity as a way to make it more personally resonant with consumers, Sarah Banet-Weiser argues that in the contemporary era, brands are about culture as much as they are about economics. That, in fact, we live in a brand culture. Authentic™maintains that branding has extended beyond a business model to become both reliant on, and reflective of, our most basic social and cultural relations. Further, these types of brand relationships have become cultural contexts for everyday living, individual identity, and personal relationships—what Banet-Weiser refers to as “brand cultures.” Distinct brand cultures, that at times overlap and compete with each other, are taken up in each chapter: the normalization of a feminized “self-brand” in social media, the brand culture of street art in urban spaces, religious brand cultures such as “New Age Spirituality” and “Prosperity Christianity,”and the culture of green branding and “shopping for change.” In a culture where graffiti artists loan their visions to both subway walls and department stores, buying a cup of “fair-trade” coffee is a political statement, and religion is mass-marketed on t-shirts, Banet-Weiser questions the distinction between what we understand as the “authentic” and branding practices. But brand cultures are also contradictory and potentially rife with unexpected possibilities, leadingAuthentic™to articulate a politics of ambivalence, creating a lens through which we can see potential political possibilities within the new consumerism.

Sarah Banet-Weiser is Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is the author of The Most Beautiful Girl in the World: Beauty Pageants and National Identity (1999) and Kids Rule! Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship (2007), and the co-editor of Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting (2007) and Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times (2012), both available from NYU Press.

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Branding the Authentic
Branding Consumer Citizens: Gender and the Emergence of Brand Culture
Branding the Postfeminist Self: The Labor of Femininity
Branding Creativity: Creative Cities, Street Art, and "Making Your Name Sing"
Branding Politics: Shopping for Change?
Branding Religion: "I'm Like Totally Saved"
Conclusion: The Politics of Ambivalence
Notes
Index
About the Author

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