Vol. 5, No. 1, December 2003

Corporate Logo Tattoos
Literal Corporate Branding?
Sam Binkley
newsletter designer
Emerson University

Dan Cook
University of Illinois-Champaign

Nalini Kotamraju
University of California-Berkeley

George Ritzer
all-around great guy
University of Maryland-College Park

Todd Stillman
listserv manager
University of Maryland—College Park

Statement of Purpose
The organizing group for Consumers, Commodities and Consumption seeks to foster dialogue and debate among those who are interested in and concerned about the place of goods and commodities in social life. These interests and concerns may range from the poetics of micro/personal identity formation to the identity politics of gendered, raced and classed display, from historical work on the rise of consumer culture to a critique of Nike advertising, from investigations of typical places of consumption to the study the dynamics of globalization and urban areas. Individuals affiliated with Consumers, Commodities and Consumption desire to bring to the fore, in their own ways, the depths to which commodities and a market logic have come to pervade virtually all forms of social life and social interaction. The primary goal is to begin to engage in an interchange.

Contact the CCC:
Contact the Consumers, Commodities and Consumption Special Interest Group at the American Sociological Association.

Write to Dan Cook, CCC Newsletter
103 Gregory Hall
810 S. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
phone: 217-265-5509
fax: 217-244-3348
email: dtcook@uiuc.edu
Have something to say? Send in essays, comments, letters, reviews, observations for the next Newsletter.

Visit our Web site

by Angela Orend-Cunningham
University of Louisville

Want to get free lunches for the rest of your life?

All you have to do is get the Casa Sanchez corporate logo tattooed anywhere on your body and you can get free lunches forever! Casa Sanchez, a Mexican restaurant in San Francisco, is not the only company offering this kind of deal (Wells 1999). The Great Northern Brewing Company which brews Black Star Beer, recently held its second annual Black Star Beer Tattoo Contest, giving away a Harley Davidson to who ever showed up with the biggest tattoo of the "yahoo-in cowboy" company logo (Wells 1999). More recently, the Daytona Cubs baseball team has recently announced that they will give free season tickets for life to anyone who will tattoo the Cubs logo on their body (NPR 2001).


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Books of Note

Correction: Peņaloza article

Privatization is Suicide

by David Redmon
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn

Between September 9 - 15, 2003 I participated in the direct action demonstrations against the World Trade Organization in Cancun. On September 10, fifty-six year-old South Korean farmer Lee Kyung Hae climbed atop the barricade, exclaiming out-loud, "WTO kills farmers!" as he sacrificed his life by stabbing himself in his heart with a knife. Lee sacrificed himself on Chusok day (the date that commemorates the dead in Korea -- Day of the Dead). After Lee lost his farm due to a foreclosure in 1999, and before his sacrifice in Cancun, he had camped out in front of the World Trade Organization in Geneva in a one-person hunger strike. His goal was to direct the world's attention to the genocidal policies of neoliberalism on farmers in South Korea and around the world. Lee and the farmers were ignored.

Neoliberal policies pushed Lee to take his life in Cancun as a way to protect Koreans farmers and as a symbol of the hundreds and thousands of farmers and peasants worldwide who die every year because of neoliberalism. According to Luis Hernandez Navarro, for example, subsidized rice exports to Korea from the U.S. are four times cheaper than the rice produced by Korean farmers (Food First). Over a thousand peasants committed suicide in India between 1998 and 1999; a large majority of them did it by drinking pesticide liquids. "In England and Canada the suicide rate among farmers is twice the national average.  In Wales one farmer commits suicide every week. In the U.S. Midwest suicide is the fifth largest cause of death among farmers. In China peasants are the social group with the highest suicide rate" (Navarro 2003).




ICT for Sustainable Consumption?
Not Without a Sustainable-Values Social Framework

by Robert Rattle
Ottawa, Ontario

Recent years have seen the enthusiastic adoption of the Internet and communications technologies (ICT)--development of the knowledge economy-- notwithstanding the recent technology bubble experienced in global stock markets. ICT has been widely promoted as, among other things, an important strategy to improve the energy and materials intensity of the economy and, correspondingly, reduce energy and materials consumption. The reasoning is that dematerialising the economy and immaterialising consumer preferences can lead to greatly improved efficiencies. It is assumed that by shifting economic activities towards a service oriented economy, environmental impacts can be reduced.

Efficiency improvements in general have been widely advocated in this context for decades, dare I say centuries (Jevons, 1865). Nevertheless, energy and materials consumption continues to rise. Indeed, efficiency gains often produce unexpected results, whereby consumption levels increase, often exceeding the gains in efficiency.