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.

The Hybridisation of Culture and Economy

The hybridisation of culture and economy

[T]he expanded role of promotion, indeed of the circulation process as a whole, has led to a mutation in the relation between economic ‘base’ and cultural ‘superstructure’ such that the latter has become absorbed into the former – as the zone of circulation and exchange – while the former – as the zone of production – has itself become a major cultural apparatus. (Wernick, 1991: 19)


This chapter shifts the focus from how advertising has ‘interfered’ in the relationship between people and objects to how it has disrupted the ‘spheres’ of culture and economy. Concerns about advertising's impact on culture and economy have exercised writers in a variety of traditions. In the post-war period advertising ...

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