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Extra resources for Activist Guide to Exploiting Media
Interactivity, for example, has been theorized as a mode of address fully consonant with the kind of knowledge-power relations required by technological, consumerist capitalism (Barry 1998). Clearly, this opens up questions about how cultural and economic processes reinforce each other in the proliferation of display. The next section examines further the role of consumption in cultural display by looking at its economic uses. The cultural economy of visitability The first point to note is the fact that we live in a society dominated at many levels by the banal, routine ubiquity of exhibition and symbolic display.
Hannerz (1990) distinguishes between ‘cosmopolitans’ and locals, noting the emergence of a highly mobile class of culturally literate consumers who can navigate their way (literally and metaphorically) around global cultures. They are a minority, however, compared to the world’s ‘locals’. These latter, being largely confined to their immediate environment, are by necessity pre-occupied with it. And large sections of the global working class (such as those without work or in casual, intermittent employment) are non-participants in the games of lifestyle consumption and tourism.
They have thus made it legitimate, worthy of serious comment and not simply dismissable by the intellectual class. The role of intellectuals, in the process, has become reduced to interpreting trends, rather than legislating on matters of taste (Bauman 1987). Above all, NCIs do not promote one particular style but a general attitude which sees style as all important. This fascination with the ‘melting pot’ of style is a key ingredient in the proliferation of cultural display today. A CULTURE OF DISPL AY Exclusions and inequalities The above analysis of class is not intended to suggest that cultural display belongs to the service class alone, nor that it is invisible or marginal to other class horizons.