Advertising is often used to illustrate popular and academic debates about cultural and economic life. This book reviews cultural and sociological approaches to advertising and, using historical evidence, demonstrates that a rethink of the analysis of advertising is long overdue. Liz McFall surveys dominant and problematic tendencies within the current discourse. This book offers a thorough review of the literature and also introduces fresh empirical evidence. Advertising: A Cultural Economy uses a historical study of advertising to regain a sense of how it has been patterned, not by the `epoch', but by the interaction of institutional, organisational and technological forces.

Colonising of the Real

Colonising of the real

Advertisements do not simply manipulate us, inoculate us or reduce us to the status of objects; they create structures of meaning which sell commodities not for themselves as useful objects but in terms of ourselves as social beings in our different social relationships. Products are given ‘exchange-value’: ads translate statements about objects into statements about types of consumer and human relationships. (Dyer, 1982: 116)

Introduction

Semiotic theory and method have been of defining importance to the development of academic approaches to advertising.1 Pure applications of semiotic method may be rarer now than in the past, but concepts, ideas and methods deriving from the tradition continually resurface in theoretical work, and even inform commercial practice.2 For this reason the aim of ...

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