The purpose of this paper is to show how visual sociology may help to understand consumption practices in global society. The theoretical frame used combines social phenomenology and cultural anthropology, as proposed by Mary Douglas (1979) and more recently by Molotch (2003). According to these authors, not only does the sociology of consumption study the economic exchange of goods; it also analyses the consump-tion system as a set of culturally oriented practices. From this point of view consumption practices are an expression of the culture in which they are found, since they can provide information on such cultural sys-tem (Douglas and Isherwood 1979). I am mainly interested in the cul-tural biography of things (Igor Kopytoff 1986), because I believe that culture comes before usefulness as a criterion for the choice of objects (Sahlins 1978), and not vice versa. This analisys of people’s relation to objects is important in order to un-derstand how the meanings of objects change in a global society where culture is becoming increasingly glocal as the result of the exchange between the local and the global dimension. My approach, therefore, emphasizes the diachronic dimension of culture, that is its movements, since, like Appadurai, I believe that culture is a flow and that consumer objects play a role in the processes of symbolic appropriation of indi-viduals’ times and spaces in the glocal world. The contribution of visual sociology is very important because it gives visual and concrete examples of the cultural practices which are dealt with by sociological theory at the abstract level. Images, four visual in-dicators have been considered, are indeed a useful tool to analyse the processes through which individuals interpret and translate the mean-ings of goods in their everyday lives, because they show us how ob-jects, through their use, help delimit the individuals’ spaces and times.

Analysis of consumption rituals in global society through visual research

PALTRINIERI, ROBERTA
2007

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to show how visual sociology may help to understand consumption practices in global society. The theoretical frame used combines social phenomenology and cultural anthropology, as proposed by Mary Douglas (1979) and more recently by Molotch (2003). According to these authors, not only does the sociology of consumption study the economic exchange of goods; it also analyses the consump-tion system as a set of culturally oriented practices. From this point of view consumption practices are an expression of the culture in which they are found, since they can provide information on such cultural sys-tem (Douglas and Isherwood 1979). I am mainly interested in the cul-tural biography of things (Igor Kopytoff 1986), because I believe that culture comes before usefulness as a criterion for the choice of objects (Sahlins 1978), and not vice versa. This analisys of people’s relation to objects is important in order to un-derstand how the meanings of objects change in a global society where culture is becoming increasingly glocal as the result of the exchange between the local and the global dimension. My approach, therefore, emphasizes the diachronic dimension of culture, that is its movements, since, like Appadurai, I believe that culture is a flow and that consumer objects play a role in the processes of symbolic appropriation of indi-viduals’ times and spaces in the glocal world. The contribution of visual sociology is very important because it gives visual and concrete examples of the cultural practices which are dealt with by sociological theory at the abstract level. Images, four visual in-dicators have been considered, are indeed a useful tool to analyse the processes through which individuals interpret and translate the mean-ings of goods in their everyday lives, because they show us how ob-jects, through their use, help delimit the individuals’ spaces and times.
Framing Globalitazion
50
62
Paltrinieri R.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/55792
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