|by Michael J. Yaksich
University of Maryland
Portrayals of gay men as pioneers of fashion illustrate the role of consumer capitalism in the shaping of social identities (Hennessy, 1994; Valocchi, 1999; Chasin, 2000; Gross, 2001; Walters, 2001; Sender, 2004; Gamson, 2005). As a gay man, it is difficult to escape from being associated with ‘knowing how’ to shop....
So when did I, or any other
gay male, transform into a shopping expert? The assumption that my subjectivity
as a gay individual is tied not only to consumption, but knowing how
to properly consume, raises questions around the relationship between
consumer capitalism and homosexuality.
by Nicki Lisa Cole
University of California, Santa Barbara
Today, the concepts of ethical capitalism and corporate social responsibility have become mainstream in the United States. Ideas about the regulation of pollution and emissions, fair labor practices and human rights, and the nuances of cultivation and production of goods are prevalent in society, as are goods marketed based on these ideas. Today one can find goods certified fair trade, organic, sustainable, sweatshop free, or eco-friendly, as various as food, beverage, tobacco, flowers and plants, clothing and shoes, jewelry, art and hand-crafts, paper and plastic goods, car tires, automobiles, and bombs and ammunitions. When Wal-Mart carries it, mass saturation has been reached.
Though not always framed and executed as critical acts by consumers, the purchasing of such products reflects a particular stance on the dominant mode of capitalism that structures social relations around the globe. More specifically, the market for ethical goods reflects critique of the social and environmental conditions generated by the current system of capitalism. In this essay I argue that ethical capitalism is emerging as a new dominant mode of capitalism, which suggests shifts in the cultural logic of capitalism, to borrow a phrase popularized by Frederick Jameson (2000). What are these shifts? And what is their significance?
To contemplate this we must begin by recognizing that ultimately, morality is at the heart of this matter. It is the desire to breathe morality back into the relations of production and consumption that sparked ideas and practices of ethical capitalism and consumption. I use the phrase “breathe back into” because historically, morality was extracted from the system of economic exchange. I argue that ethical capitalism reflects a desire to reinsert morality, and also importantly, the recognition of a market for this virtue.
Cultural Capital: Between Taste and Participation
by Tally Katz-Gerro (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Meir Yaish email@example.comUniversity of Haifa
Bourdieu's (1987 ) theorization of cultural capital treats attitudes, preferences, and behavior as forms of embodied cultural capital. As such, these are often considered parallel forms of embodied cultural capital that receive different empirical manifestations in various works (Lamont and Lareau 1988), without attention to the implications of choosing one operationalization of cultural capital over another. In this essay we focus on two dominant measures of cultural capital in research on cultural consumption: cultural tastes, which represent preferences and cultural participation, which represents behavior. We argue a need to clarify the theoretical distinction between the two by thinking of preferences as antecedents of behavior.
The literature on cultural consumption can be described as following three paths. First, studies that have used either cultural tastes or cultural participation as interchangeable indicators of cultural capital (e.g., Peterson 2005; Sullivan and Katz-Gerro 2007). Second, studies that have used tastes and participation in tandem without expecting them to perform differently ...