The Creation of the American mass market and consumer culture

GRIN Verlag
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Essay from the year 2004 in the subject Communications - Journalism, Journalism Professions, grade: 1,0, Indiana University (School of Journalism), course: Journalism J650, 5 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Robert A. Gross begins his article Markets, Magazines, and More with reference to a quote from Ellen Gruber Garvey’s book The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture which summarizes quite well the essential reason behind many developments that led to the creation of an American mass market. “Why...do men make magazines? To sell ad. space in them. What’s a magazine? So many pages of ad. space.” According to Gross magazines were not so much about content as they were about the advertisements in them. Of course, magazines had to be sold in order for people to read the ads, but the content of the magazine was not designed to improve the reader’s life but to get him interested in the product and eventually make him buy it. Many scholars such as William Leach see this development in the American media landscape from a purely informational and even missionary character to a consumption and marketing based arena as a major move away from the traditional values of media outlets such as the newspaper and others. Leach evaluates this change in his book The Land of Desire where he takes a close look at the changes within the American culture and market. He argues that in the decades after the Civil War “American capitalism began to produce a distinct culture, unconnected to traditional family or community values, to religion in any conventional sense, or to political democracy. It was a secular business and market-oriented culture [...].” He traces this change from the time of the Protestant settlers and early American community life, where the ultimate fulfilment was salvation, spiritual blessings for all and an end to poverty, to the 1900s, where those religious ideals were increasingly transformed and commercialized into personal satisfaction and individual pleasures and profit. With the appearance of “new pleasure palaces” such as department stores, theaters, restaurants, hotels, dance halls, and amusement parks Americans experienced the joy of personal satisfaction. Whereas in the past, Leach writes, “values had taken their character from ... the church; now they were deriving it from business and consumption.” This democratization of individual desire of the post Civil War culture is probably one of the “most notable contributions to modern society” according to Leach.
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Publisher
GRIN Verlag
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Published on
Jan 12, 2007
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Pages
5
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ISBN
9783638595520
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Journalism
Social Science / Media Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Michael Schmid
Seminar paper from the year 2005 in the subject Politics - International Politics - Region: USA, grade: 1,3, Indiana University (Political Science Department), course: American Political Traditions, 13 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The Monroe Doctrine will be 200 years old in 2023 and the world of today could not be more different than from the conditions of the world in which president James Monroe gave his speech, which would become so famous and significant for the direction of U.S. foreign policy. Yet the policies of the Monroe Doctrine are still very much alive. Especially after president Theodore Roosevelt announced the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine in 1904 America’s path of becoming a major player in world affairs with arbitrary power was paved for them. The argument of this paper is that the document known today as the Monroe Doctrine started out as a simple but efficient and bold proclamation, which dealt with the problems of its time and has been transformed into a tool for global involvement. Originally it attempts to keep Europeans out of the New World but it does not attack the already existing colonies in the Western Hemisphere. Over time various presidents altered this original phrasing. One of the more important examples of this tradition is Theodore Roosevelt’s Corollary to the doctrine, which will serve as an illustration to outline the main argument. Roosevelt turned the meaning of the doctrine around and went from noninterference to active responsibility by the United States to intervene anywhere in the Western Hemisphere where chaos and violence ruled. Still limited on the Western Hemisphere and whatever was defined to fit into this category Roosevelt’s definition of the “international police power” soon became just that. The United States would enter two World Wars on the basic justification that they were restoring order and justice and were only acting out of self-defense reasons. After World War II nothing of what James Monroe had once proclaimed as essential to American progress was left. The defining characteristic of Monroe’s old doctrine-the non-interference with European affairs phrase-had been shattered to pieces. The Cold War forced the United States to become even more dedicated to European matters and even after the Cold War the U.S. or a multilateral coalition under U.S. leadership now dealt with new threats to European peace. With the post 9/11 era all dreams about isolation from Europe were forever destroyed. The War on Terrorism is the latest effort of the United States to change the conditions of countries all around the world.
Michael Schmid
Seminar paper from the year 2006 in the subject American Studies - Miscellaneous, grade: 1,3, Free University of Berlin (John F. Kennedy Institut), course: Rise to Power: US Foreign Policy in the 20th Century, 24 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: No area seems to be of more importance in the field of foreign policy and diplomatic history today than the so called Middle East. The continuing clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian suicide bombers, the difficult challenge of stabilizing a newly elected government in Iraq and the growing tension between Iran and the international community concerning the issue of nuclear power are just a few examples which illustrate the urgency to look at origins of these conflicts. As an example for this essay, I have chosen the case of Iran. I will focus on the very beginning of the involvement of the United States in the Middle East, and I will demonstrate what kind of issues and perceptions played an essential role in the determination of U.S. policy towards Iran. Although I do not attempt to find causes for the current situation, some of the factors I will identify in this essay might also serve as an explanation for the current conflict with Iran. Yet, this is not my primary intention and further research and empirical data will be required to investigate connections to the contemporary situation with Iran. However, I will argue that the way US policymakers viewed their Iranian counterparts did not change fundamentally for many decades at least regarding the country of Iran if not more countries in the Middle East. I downplay this aspect because a lot more research is needed to support this argument and it would extend beyond the scope of this essay. Mostly the dealings with Iran and its premier Muhammad Musaddiq in the early 1950s at the time of the Anglo-Iranian oil crises will be of relevance. The essence of my argument is that even though strategic thinking and the fear of a communist takeover of Iran played a role in negotiating with Iran, the reason why Musaddiq was toppled by the CIA and the British MI-6 was because Western diplomats had a so called “orientalist” mindset and perceived him as too weak and irrational as to fight off Soviet attacks and propaganda which could have led to an eventual takeover of Iran by Soviet forces. In order to pre-empt that, the United States and Britain collaborated to bring down Musaddiq and install a shah regime that would, on the one hand be more favourable to Western oil interests, and on the other hand more resistant regarding possible Soviet invasion efforts.
Michael Schmid
Seminar paper from the year 2004 in the subject American Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 1,3, Free University of Berlin (John F. Kennedy Institut Berlin), course: HS American Cultural Memory: Trauma, Collective Imagery and the Politics of Remembering, 3 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The text by Bessel Van der Kolk and Onno Van der Hart “The Intrusive Past” provides an overview of the work and achievement of Jean – Martin Charcot ́s and Pierre Janet’s study about how the mind processes memories and the effects of traumatic memories on consciousness. With the following text, I will present a couple of central aspects of Janet’s study and the phenomena of dissociation and the reconstruction of the past through narrative memory and project them onto one short sequence from “Memento” (2001) to further support my argument. The main point of this text is to illustrate how narrative memory reshapes the past in a variety of ways and that the main character in “Memento”, who has lived through a traumatic experience, creates and recreates his past through the means of a combination of the already mentioned dissociation and narrative memory. Janet considered “the memory system as the central organizing apparatus of the mind, which categorizes and integrates all aspects of experience and automatically integrates them into ever – enlarging and flexible meaning schemes.” He differentiates between the subconscious automatic integration of familiar and expectable experiences into existing meaning schemes and the difficult integration of frightening and novel experiences, which might either totally resist integration or be remembered extremely vivid. The subconscious integration of memories occurs because they fit easily into the meaning scheme, they do not pose a threat or form a contradiction to the already existing beliefs, values and meanings of the world. Whereas the automatic integration of new information happens without conscious attention, the narrative memory is something very deliberate and conscious. Narrative memory is not the act of remembering something that happened in the past but an act of recreating the past, of changing the memory. Janet explains this phenomena as mental constructs, “which people use to make sense out of experience.” This suggests that the individual’s existing meaning schemes may be entirely unable to integrate a specific terrifying experience, which causes the memory to be stored differently, and therefore might not be available for the act of remembering.
Michael Schmid
Seminar paper from the year 2004 in the subject American Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 1,3, Indiana University (History Department), course: H 650 Foreign Relations in the American Century, 9 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The world of espionage is as fascinating and present in the current affairs of international relations as it is ambiguous. Although everybody can estimate the merits of intelligence work its significance for the development of historical events or even matters of today remains unclear. Part of the reason for that is certainly the secrecy under which operations are conducted and information is gathered, but also the unknown effects other factors and policy decisions have on a situation. It seems strangely familiar that we assume intelligence agencies have a very important role in the decision-making process of the policymakers and they probably do, but there has been and is a great debate among historians what kind of a role these agencies played and what their contribution was, if any, to the decisions ultimately made by the government officials. As we can witness today, this debate continues and will most likely never completely disappear. The latest controversy has shown this very clearly. What was the role of the intelligence community in the lead up process to the war in Iraq? How did certain findings or the absence of them influence the Bush Administration? Did the White House base its decisions on intelligence reports by the CIA or on personal convictions? And would different intelligence reports, or none at all, have made a difference in the course of events? Those are questions that will not and cannot be answered by this essay. But these are the latest examples of issues surrounding the same question that has been debated on for quite some time. Did intelligence work in the 20th century make a difference or would events have happened anyway? Along those lines another question has been formulated. How can we know for sure that one way or the other was the case? How can historians and other scholars shed light onto some of those pressing issues that are kept so secret? This essay will focus on some of these problems and methods of historians working on intelligence and will then provide a perspective on the matter of intelligence work and their effect on history.
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