In the last decades, consumer goods companies have shown great interest in Anthropology professionals and in research with an Ethnographic approach. Among the various technological innovations that can help consumer behavior research, such as eye tracking features and others, the market has increasingly turned to classical anthropological research which is based on Ethnography. But why is that? What is the relationship between Anthropology and Marketing professionals?
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In this article, I follow the anthropological tradition of symbolic systems analysis, and with it contribute to the debate concerning social representations throughout mass communication in general and, particularly, in advertising. It seeks to understand the logic by Kates and Shaw-Garlock examined ads in which ads elaborate an image of the feminine identity and, female magazines to analyze some of the ideological repre- while in this process, transform the woman into a silent and sentations of women, whereas Lynn, Hardin, and Walsdorf fragmented body.
For that reason, that would serve capitalist hegemony. Also, Kilbourne every ad needs to maintain a constant and intense dialogue studied the impact of ads that target young female with society, making a very particular cut of the innumerable consumers, indicating that advertising may create a kind of possibilities opened by the social experiences available.
In this rial as a way of understanding how an ideological pattern of respect, Banet-Weiser and Portwood-Stacer pointed contemporary culture classifies differences between social to the construction of a postfeminist consumer that embarks groups through consumption. Hence, in this article, I explore in a project of self-actualization through cosmetic surgeries the anthropological tradition of symbolic systems analysis, and diverse beauty treatments, emphasizing ideas of personal and with it contribute to the debate concerning social repre- choice and individualization, instead of original feminist sentations in mass communication in general and, particu- causes of social change and liberation.
Goffman , in larly, in advertising. Their profound discussion surpasses the ing her identity with numerous values and labels such as limits to this article. The author explains how advertising fre- try Rocha, , , There is a great potential for quently portrays the woman in a passive or assistant position, intellectual work in following this path of study, especially while the man often symbolizes a superior status and is pic- when we think of the media as one of the most active voices tured in a protective attitude, according to the social environ- occupying public spaces in contemporary culture.
Its mes- ment familial, professional, or affective where he interacts sages perform a drama where meanings are made public, with other participants. A complex ideological universe is tising construction of the feminine identity in Brazil.
Its goal formed by representations of that society which are then con- is to indicate that anthropology has a distinctive way of anal- structed, repeated, and transformed through their everyday ysis that is an important contribution for the dialogue that dissemination in texts and images of advertisements, news- should characterize research over the immense repertoire of papers, soap operas, magazines, news broadcast, movies, images, identities, representations, symbolisms, and classi- web sites, and so on.
In general, we believe that everything in the world speech as comfortable as it is inevitable. However, this ideo- of media changes rapidly. Advertising always seems so con- logical universe transmitted by mass communication always temporary, modern, new and bold or, at least, in line with the has consumption as purpose and as a way of self-mainte- latest cultural trend whatever that may be.
We see it as a nance. Without consumption, the media system is unfeasible. However, things are not ideas, tastes, and feelings—calls for the use of a common always what they seem. Indeed, under a certain plan of language to the public, because the media only makes sense observation, advertising images do identify the change.
To be comprehended is a matter of mainte- Nevertheless, when observed in another plan, we see an nance. Media representations are not unilateral creation, but impressive recurrence between the meanings of such images an exercise over a concrete relationship between speech and in various moments.
In other words, the representations and audience through a common code. Each product of the media images—of the woman, of the man, of the child, of the fam- is a bridge that establishes and fixes itself with the thoughts ily, and so forth—change without changing. Even though ads and practices of the respective consumer markets. This indicates that they seem to be in what rebounds. Something like the manner ficult, for example, for someone not to understand an adver- of myths reproduces the logic by which ads are made Rocha, tisement, radio news, television program, or newspaper , , The cultural lective imaginary concerning the feminine identity.
Thus, to industry raises interest because of the keys it holds within study advertisements is to perceive in them the recurrence. It that open passages to the imaginary of the society that pro- is a way to see renewed eternal images that express a cyclic duces it.
In this sense, I propose to investigate the most evi- and totemic time. For example, Rocha and Pereira dent traces of what ads show as the feminine identity. The representations and images that inhabit our imagi- representations. Nonetheless, the concept of tices. In this sense, the identities are not dimensions of the social role is among the most ordinary ideas to speak of soci- individual, hovering over social, for, when transformed into ety.
The feminine identity drawn in ads roles, its attributes and functions. The ad does not and both deserve a deep study, a true archaeology of struc- speak of the difference between individuals or of the singu- tures and contexts by which different authors considered larity, because selling is betting on the far-reaching and them. Advertisements speak of products and ser- tainly related to theater as a privileged metaphor. In Ralph vices to reach consumers.
The media communicates through what we the investigation of social roles, the theater theme is clearly have in common: collective representations and social presented: classifications. Thus, I wish to retain two basic points. In drama, for example, ticularly, in advertisements, assuming the symbolic material we speak of people or characters whose roles are played by the actor. And, although he no longer uses the mask, this word too they propagate necessarily has an intense relation with soci- has the same origin.
Ads must dialogue with receivers, they cannot be strang- ers, or detached. The second point is that the identity is inclusive. A third word from the theater, the audience is, in the feminine world, as a cultural experience and a collective everyday life, formed by those who watch the performance identity. The study follows author assumes the theatrical representation as the main per- with a discussion on the relationship between advertising, spective used to develop his interpretation of the self in totemism, and consumption, showing how ads trigger a clas- everyday life.
Afterword, Back to Dahrendorf, it is clear how the idea of theater was there will be a brief explanation about the methodology and explored in Homo Sociologicus. The text begins showing the the Brazilian political redemocratization context that sug- idea of theatrum mundi as one of the first metaphors used in gests some important ideas to understand the feminine iden- this sense.
The human world is like an immense theatrical tity as projected by the ads of the s. Finally, I will look drama and all living individuals play a single role. Each profes- Identity, Classification, and Value sional role, in a certain sense, defines an individual in a Ideas like identity, person, character, mask, or role can be proper age to occupy it Dahrendorf, , p.
It many of the rules of the world we inhabit. However, it is also is toward this idea that converges a great deal of the social an ideological elaboration of certain social systems. The role debate. Dahrendorf created a famous example of reality of the individual as something empirical and physical a situation where a certain Dr.
Hans Schmidt, unknown until does not assure that every culture transforms it into a social this moment, is introduced in a meeting. Once better value. Continuing with Roberto DaMatta , acquainted and after gathering information about him, we come to acknowledge that there is only one Hans Schmidt, On one side, we have the empirically given notion of the although he is engaged in many different positions and social individual as concrete reality, natural, inevitable, independent of roles: adult, man, married, citizen, of German nationality, ideologies, and collective and individual representations.
Thus, father, professor, and so on. This example shows how the we know that there is no human social constitution without the individual. The individual is constituted by preestablished product of the development of a specific social structure: the roles, which are, as a counterpart, the boundaries imposed by Western civilization. It is important to understand that roles and identities must There is a great distance between the empirical reality of be thought of in the crossroads between individuality and the discontinuity of bodies and individualism as an ideologi- society.
Actually, it is difficult to place the individual under cal elaboration of a given society. This distance is enough to perspective, to see it as a social construction, because as avoid a general and absolute understanding of social identity something so fundamental in our culture, it is perceived as based on the reification of the individual.
So, once again, if absolute truth, inalienable, independent, and beyond every we consider the individual in a relativistic perspective, from concrete social or historical experience. This reification and what should identities be thought of? When placing the con- universalization of the individual seems to be the path fol- cept of social role in the intersection between individual and lowed by part of the discussion on social identity.
Our ethno- society, Dahrendorf offers a direction. The Brazilian anthropologist Roberto by DaMatta, the idea that identity happens in an intersection DaMatta observed, is interesting.
Better explaining, the identity is located in a crossroads, but this must be free of predetermined contents. One could say that the English anthropology seems to present a It needs a place, except this place does not need to be where kind of contradiction: if, on one side, there is a search to forming the categories of individual and society intersect.
As something elaborated by a determined culture—the Western Roberto DaMatta criticizes a few studies of Edmund civilization—the individual becomes parallel to society and Leach about social organization that, like others in English not paired to it, making any crossing impossible.
However, anthropology, tend to look over society as a result of assem- to think the concept of social identity as an intersection bled trajectories, transactions, and individual strategies. Like so a less-social-centric perspective from where we can start many anthropological themes, the notion requires a fine-tun- thinking about social identities.
The reflection concerning social identity society that transforms the individual in a substance so rele- is a paradox, because it must suppose the specific singularity vant to its existence. For Western culture, the individual is of every culture and, then again, the presence of the phenom- the center of the system, a kind of measure to many attitudes enon in multiple cultures.
That is why the issue of social and thoughts before the world, and configures an inner space, identity requires an open interpretation, like the ideas of clas- appearing as an isolated unit opposite to the social system.
Here we start to think of advertising as a classifica- ties. Through them it is possible to walk away from the eth- tion system. In ads routinely transmitted to us a drama that nocentric entrapment, avoiding the Western individual as reminds life is enacted, although painless, free of misery, explanation to the notion of identity in every society.
Something that is just per- Classification is a place in the structure to be necessarily fect. Products have feelings, there is no death, and happiness filled so the world becomes coherent and intelligible to social is absolute. Children smile, women desire, men are fulfilled, actors.
Ads show a world that is neither truth- the necessary coherence to wholeness means to allow multi- ful nor misleading: it is magical. In advertising like in ple translations among its parts; however, these parts may myths , we can follow narratives where animals speak and permanently serve as means to recover this wholeness.
The magical events repeat themselves. In this sense, classification sumption.
Why are more and more companies resorting to Anthropology for answers about consumers?
Magia e capitalismo
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