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.

Pervasive Institutions and Constituent Practices

Pervasive institutions and constituent practices


Advertising stands out within critical theory as an object over which there is an unusual amount of agreement. Theorists working across a range of traditions regard advertising not only as a unique device in the articulation of production and consumption, but one which is steadily advancing in sophistication and accomplishment. This teleological conception of advertising emerges in a number of guises. Advertisements are considered more persuasive, more adept at fusing economic/commercial and aesthetic/cultural objectives, and definitely harder to avoid. Advertising pervades contemporary society to an unprecedented extent and serves as an exemplary hybrid practice, undertaken by ‘new cultural intermediaries’ working in a hybrid ‘culture industry’. This chapter takes up critical claims of this sort through an ...

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