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The article reports the perspectives of senior care staff as part of a study exploring personalisation in care homes. Behind the conceptual sword and shield of ‘choice and control’ associated with personalisation in the United Kingdom (UK) lie irreconcilable flaws, thrown into sharp relief in this context. Personalisation, which originated in community-based social services, has recently been extended into UK care homes. This service development has been stimulated by a desire to promote a humane response to caring for an ageing population, whilst containing costs. Seemingly promoting a relational approach, personalisation also entails consumerist underpinnings, with consequent tensions resulting in weakened policy mechanisms. Discussing findings pertaining to ‘food and eating’, the article illustrates the complex interplay between supporting resident capabilities with poor staff ratios; when choice is not really choice at all; balancing choice, risk and the duty of care; and responding to diverse perspectives about what matters. This complexity reflects the highly skilled nature of care work as promoted by care ethicists. The tensions permeated care home life and found parallels in the wider system of care. Honesty about the limitations of choice and control is essential to achieve ethical care in care homes. The care home constitutes fertile ground for exposing and exploring the shortcomings of the ‘logic of choice’ and for advancing a more relational, inclusive and sustainable conceptualisation of personalisation.
Activists have long used the market as a tool for empowering specific populations, sustaining the environment, and shifting cultural values. Today, these practices are commonly referred to as “ethical purchasing,” “political consumerism,” and “voting with your dollar.” The fair trade movement emerged in the 1940s as a way for consumers in the Global North to support populations in the Global South vulnerable to marginalization, exploitation, or oppression. Since then, the movement has grown in size, expanded in scope, and diversified in many ways. Today, it intersects with the organic movement, climate change advocacy, and other aspects of environmentalism. This chapter reviews the burgeoning fair trade literature, drawing heavily on publications from the past five years, to describe and discuss four provocative debates: 1) Fair trade for whom? 2) Fair trade by whom? 3) Fair trade through certification (or not)? and 4) What next for engaging capitalism and the state? After highlighting the perspectives and questions dominating each debate, this chapter offers several suggestions about the future of fair trade.
In “New World Order, Old World Ways: Hemingway’s Colonialism and Postcolonialism,” Marc K. Dudley looks specifically to how well Hemingway studies of the past twenty years has engaged the tenents of postcolonial theory, which critiques the political oppressions of imperialism, both political and cultural. As he argues, criticism has mostly focused on Hemingway’s ethics, arguing in the main that between his first African safari in 1933–1934 and his final one twenty years later he grew in his awareness of the Third World political scene, which allowed him to tentatively overcome his ethnocentrism. That space, many critics argue, can be measured in the differences between Green Hills of Africa (1935) and the posthumously published True at First Light (1999) and the full manuscript from which it was culled, Under Kilimanjaro (2005). In addition to Africa, Dudley explores Hemingway’s political awareness of Cuba, from its late-nineteenth-century fight for independence from Spain to the revolutions of both 1933 and 1939. Texts examined include To Have and Have Not (1937) and the oft-ignored story “Nobody Ever Dies” (1939).
The Introduction introduces the primary questions of the book: what are the implications of the spread of consumerism in the Mao era, 1949–76? The argument is simple: consumerism is a correlate of capitalism. Both depended on each other to expand. The implication: the spread of both define the political economy of the PRC not as “socialist,” as is commonly assumed, but rather as capitalism. As the book demonstrates, the Mao era was a specific variety of capitalism called “state capitalist” because the state attempted to channel and suppress consumerism and consumption generally to facilitate rapid industrialization. The chapter justifies labeling these state attempts to control consumerism with a coined term, state consumerism. The rest of the Introduction explains the specific use of these three key terms: consumerism, capitalism, and socialism. Finally, the chapter suggests how the rest of the book attempts to demonstrate why this reinterpretation of “Communist China” as developing a form of capitalism helps readers understand the history of the era and new and better ways.
Chapter 1 provides an accessible introduction to the book’s argument. It examines the self-expanding and compulsory aspect of industrial capitalism and its natural correlate, industrial consumerism, by tracing how Chinese people competed to produce and acquire consumer goods across the Mao era, 1949–76. In the 1960s, consumers demanded three luxury products in particular: wristwatches, bicycles, and sewing machines, known at the time as the Three Great Items. Before the late 1950s, all three of these had been difficult to acquire. As the state continued to expand control over both production and consumption, the Three Greats became increasingly available across cities, towns, and even some rural areas. By the end of the Mao era, so many people already owned these three that industrial consumerism began to replace these with more technologically complex and capital-intensive consumer products, initiating another round of compulsory and self-expanding consumerism.
What forces shaped the twentieth-century world? Capitalism and communism are usually seen as engaged in a fight-to-the-death during the Cold War. With the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party aimed to end capitalism. Karl Gerth argues that despite the socialist rhetoric of class warfare and egalitarianism, Communist Party policies actually developed a variety of capitalism and expanded consumerism. This negated the goals of the Communist Revolution across the Mao era (1949–1976) down to the present. Through topics related to state attempts to manage what people began to desire - wristwatches and bicycles, films and fashion, leisure travel and Mao badges - Gerth challenges fundamental assumptions about capitalism, communism, and countries conventionally labeled as socialist. In so doing, his provocative history of China suggests how larger forces related to the desire for mass-produced consumer goods reshaped the twentieth-century world and remade people's lives.
The function of EU competition law is seemingly apparent: to prohibit cartels amongst firms and combat the abuse of positions of economic dominance in order to ensure effective competition and, eventually, to maximise consumer welfare. What is less apparent are the more covert socio-economic ordering effects of this externally imposed legal system on institutions within EU Member States that may historically/culturally have organised economic sectors upon the basis of social logics that do not necessarily accord with the centrality of competition and its accompanying logics as a principle of social organisation. This may apply in particular to economic sectors that have historically been organised to serve producerist objectives or interests (an orientation of the state on the supply side of a market). A (economic) consumerist orientation is, by contrast, focussed on purposive rights and interests on the demand side of the market-in particular, primarily as an interest in competitive prices and choice for consumers. This chapter discusses this potential clash of organisational logics by reviewing how the structure and application of EU competition law may tilt EU Member States from producerist towards consumerist socio-economic orientations. It shall do so upon the basis of a critical reflection of attempts by the European Commission to “liberate” the liberal professions and more recent examples in The Netherlands that demonstrate how EU competition law may install a logic of consumer welfare as a primary principle of social organisation whenever firms co-operate to achieve public interest objectives.
Chapter 6 analyzes the communal feeding centers opened during World War II that initially targeted the working poor in order to ameliorate their deficient diets and boost morale. They provided well-balanced, inexpensive meals that attempted to meet the nutritional standards devised by the state’s scientific advisors. These British Restaurants eventually came to serve a broad cross section of the civilian home front population, not merely the working poor. But this was not the product of a coherent government policy. Rather, this chapter demonstrates that it was the result of a proactive public who used these not-for-profit services for their own purposes and thus became not merely passive recipients of government food control policies but active agents in the project of mass feeding. This chapter explores these institutions as spaces of cross-class and heterosocial encounters, which were frequented by a range of people who generally enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. It concludes that British Restaurants were politically popular both because they reflected a wartime “fair shares” mentality and because they served a larger project that was bent on transforming the poor from beneficiaries of the state into citizen-consumers and thus full members of an economically healthy postwar society.
One of the most important social relationships in any community is that of parent and child. Parents and primary caregivers are typically tasked with raising their children; however, they are but one of many social agents and structures that contribute to childrens’ overall socialisation. Children’s beliefs, values and behaviours are influenced by the broader social systems in which they are raised, including social and economic ideologies. This commentary aims to build an argument based on a broad collection of literature and research, that Australia’s current variegated form of neoliberalism has the potential to create friction within the parent–child relationship, and questions about the social morality of this position are raised.
The chapter analyzes how Don DeLillo’s novel Mao II critically refracts TV’s immediacy effects to explore the cultural function that literature performs within the increasingly commodified market dynamics of mass media communication. The chapter argues that DeLillo accomplishes a paradoxical feat: he tells the story of a retrograde writer who loses his life in a futile attempt to resist the commercialization of his work; yet DeLillo suffuses this allegorical tale about the death of an author in the age of mass media and consumer culture with detailed ekphrastic descriptions of TV news footage, photographs, and pop art that ultimately confirm the capacity of literature to respond in innovative ways to the predominance of visual media, the misapprehension of televisual images as real, and the increasing commodification of literature and art. Published as American culture was turning digital, the novel provides an apt terminus for my study of how American writers reworked the immediacy effects of analog new visual media to renew literary culture.
The chapter argues that John Dos Passos in his novel Manhattan Transferappropriates cinematic immediacy effects and documentary aesthetics for the sake of literary innovation and cultural intervention. His formal innovations—the narrative’s montage structure, shifting focalization, and sampling of mass media item—allow the novel to convey the complexity of modern city life while opening up a critical perspective on mass media discourse and urban consumer culture. The chief strategy Dos Passos uses to critically refract popular mass culture is the creation and subsequent dissolution of immediacy effects that encourage the readers to grapple self-reflexively with the text, their reading strategies, and the represented social realities. The novel’s documentary style creates an urban world that seems recorded rather than imagined. Yet the novel continually disrupts this impression of immediacy: its disjunctive structure and surprising narrative shifts confront the readers with their interpretive routines and push them to develop new ways of reading that enable them to cope with both the novel’s experimental form and the depicted cultural practices.
The chapter defines TV’s immediacy effects. Television started out as a live medium. Although shows were soon pre-produced and recorded, an aesthetic of liveness, retained by shooting sitcoms and talk shows in front of studio audiences, has remained integral to TV culture. It sets TV apart from earlier visual media, particularly film, and is pivotal for the medium’s reality effects. Although “television” means to “see at a distance,” the initial promise of TV was that it would erase the distance between the viewers and the depicted events. Because event, transmission, and reception occur simultaneously during a live broadcast, it possesses not only temporal immediacy but also evokes a sense of spatial proximity and actuality. TV live coverage seems to bring the world home or to transport the viewers to the site of action. By presenting on- and off-screen worlds as directly connected, live TV blurs the boundary between public and private spheres, between fiction and fact, and creates the impression that the viewers participate in the broadcasted events. Since American TV is a commercial medium, the cultural dominance of TV results in a pervasive commodification of experience.
Discussing works by Robert Coover and David Foster Wallace, this chapter argues that the critical remediation of TV’s aesthetics of immediacy provided an innovative impetus for the experimental postmodernist fiction of the 1960s and 70s and the literary fiction of the 1980s and 90s. Among the first generation of writers to address TV, Coover parodies in his short story “The Babysitter” how TV conflates the fictive and the real by eroding the boundaries between on- and off-screen worlds. The story plays with narrative levels to debunk TV’s logic of spectacle and consumption. Twenty years later, Wallace likewise explores how TV alters our sense of the real. Yet he distances himself from the ironical stance he finds characteristic of both his postmodernist precursors and of TV. In his essay “E Unibus Pluram” and short stories like “Little Expressionless Animals,” he advocates a return to a self-reflexive poetics of sincerity. Although their poetics and historical moment differ, both Coover and Wallace rework televisual immediacy effects to challenge TV’s promise of direct participation and connection and to expand the representational reach and cultural pertinence of literature.
This chapter is concerned with ways in which Iranian women’s magazines conveyed the idea of "the modern woman" while presenting themselves as family guides and experts to modern day living. Appealing to the family, provided these magazines a traditional and familiar framework to present divergent notions of womanhood by a range of experts, and simultaneously debate with their audiences on them. Catering the family and the re-signification of the housewife’s status within the confines of the home by way of enhanced scientific motherhood, glamorizing technological domestic labor, and maternal nationalism, was a form of symbolic defense against perceived threats to older values and fears, especially with women entering into the salaried workforce in swelling numbers. While the magazines expressed their absolute support of women’s education, they were more ambivalent toward women’s work outside the home. Their depiction of the domestic sphere in the 1960s and 1970s continued to convey the conservative ideology of “a good wife and educated mother” that had been cultivated in previous decades. At the same time, they underscored women’s civic duties and role in the Pahlavi campaign of pre-Islamic national revivalism.
The article suggests that self-reflexive participation should be considered a distinct form of client participation. Self-reflexive participation is an individualized form of participation that occurs through a development-oriented dialogue between the client and a practitioner. In this dialogue, clients reflect on themselves, set goals for the future and devise strategies, thereby improving their self-regulatory potentials. The article discusses important differences between self-reflexive participation and democratic, consumerist and co-productive participation in terms of the form participation takes, the aim of participation, the client role, the resources required from clients to participate, the assumed relationship between the agency and the client and organizational responsiveness. Self-reflexive participation is based on a view of the client as capable and reflexive and it may foster a tailoring of social services to the wishes and life-projects of clients. However, self-reflexive participation is based on the assumption that clients can be empowered through improved skills of self-observation and life-planning. When focus is on these skills, it may gloss over important conflicts between clients and agency and detach questions of client participation from organizational responsiveness and struggles over user control.
The fashion historian Rebecca C. Tuite provides a detailed account of the pervasiveness of Plath’s engagement with fashion throughout her literary and visual work, showing for the first time how powerful Plath’s interest was from the outset, and remained throughout her writing life. Tuite reveals the contradiction in the Plath who was critical of the cultural and economic influence of fashion, but also able to draw on it artistically and aesthetically, as well as to take personal pleasure in it.
Free movement of patients has been criticised from the moment that the first patient cases reached the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’). The moving patient supposedly increases consumerism, reduces national solidarity, and has a negative impact on the quality of healthcare provided in some Member States. This article challenges the empirical foundations of such criticisms. An empirical analysis of all patient cases before the CJEU shows that a significant number of patients required urgent treatment, that their medical condition was life-threatening, and that they were supported by their treating doctor in seeking treatment in another Member State. Moreover, free movement of patient cases regularly lead to positive changes to national healthcare systems. Therefore, the negative attitude towards free movement of patients should be reconsidered. Patients, doctors, and lawyers must think more strategically about how free movement can be used to improve the quality of healthcare in the EU.
The final chapter looks at how emoji have been commercialized and the extent to which we’re now seeing the ‘emojification’ of modern society in much the same way that the late twentieth century was marked by a process of ‘Disneyfication’. Not only are brands and advertisers embracing emoji culture for marketing purposes, but the large tech companies are increasingly commodifying them as part of their commercial strategies. This is having implications for the evolution of language which are markedly different from what we’ve seen before and raises interesting ethical questions about the politics and economics of communication.
The article aims at disentangling the existing relation between job precariousness and political participation at the individual level illustrating that the former can be considered an emerging political cleavage. The authors apply an interpretive framework typical of political participation studies to an original data set composed of two groups of young workers (with precarious and open-ended contracts) in a big Italian post-industrial city, Turin. First, applying a confirmatory factor analysis, a typology of three ‘modes’ of political participation – voting, collective action, and political consumerism – is used to reduce data complexity. Second, logistic regressions are deployed to analyze the role played by occupational status, political positioning, and the interaction between the two, on the different modes of political participation. Precarious youth show a higher level of political participation in representational behaviours (voting). Left-wing youth are generally more active than non-left-wing ones in non-representational behaviours (collective actions and consumerism), the impact is more pronounced for precarious young people. Thus, results demonstrate the relevance of occupational status in explaining patterns of participation and invite scholars to promote a dialogue between industrial relations and political participation studies.