Self reinvention has become a preoccupation of contemporary culture. In the last decade, Hollywood made a 500-million-dollar bet on this idea with movies such as Multiplicity, Fight Club, eXistenZ, and Catch Me If You Can. Self reinvention marks the careers of Madonna, Ani DiFranco, Martha Stewart, and Robin Williams. The Nike ads of LeBron James, the experiments of New Age spirituality, the mores of contemporary teen culture, and the obsession with extreme makeovers are all examples of our culture's fixation with change. In a time marked by plenitude, transformation is one of the few things these parties have in common. Although transformation is widely acknowledged as a defining characteristic of our culture, we have almost no studies on what it is or how it works. Transformations offers the first comprehensive and systematic view. It is an ethnography of the contemporary world.
Is it possible any longer to read markets fast enough to respond to them? A world of discrete parts is now one interconnected web of ceaseless calculation and response. Marketing has become a thing of speed and turbulence, with all the players moving simultaneously. For marketing guru Grant McCracken, the key to success in this dynamic new marketplace is to find a way to slow the world down. And McCracken believes he has the solution. It begins with understanding the mechanics at work today. He says, Complexity has a theory. Commotion has a pattern. Dynamism has a system. We can continue to live by damage control, or we can change the way we play the game. To survive our own world of collision and speed, marketers need to see the world as flocks and flows. In this exciting new book, McCracken deploys complex adaptive theory to track the movement of trends and new groupings of consumers. He shows how to monitor new trends, whether and when to introduce new brands and brand extensions, how to speak to niche markets, and how to avoid costly mistakes. McCracken's sage and witty advice could not come at a better time. His book will be a valuable aid for anyone trying to keep up with marketplace changes in our rapidly evolving world.
A follow-up to Grant McCracken's groundbreaking Culture and Consumption, this new book trades the usual platitudes about the consumer society for a more detailed, exacting anthropological treatment. Each section of the book pairs a brief essay with an academic article. The essay is designed for a quick, provocative glimpse of the topic; the article provides a deeper anthropological treatment. The book opens with a broadside against the now thoroughly conventionalized attack on the consumer culture. Essays follow on homes, cars, people, and social mobility; celebrities, consumerism, and self-invention; museums and the power of objects; the anthropology of advertising; and marketing, meaning management, and value. Like McCracken's previous volume, this new book is an engaging, informative, and eye-opening foray into modern consumer culture.
This book compiles and integrates highly innovative work aimed at bridging the fields of anthropology and consumer behavior. -Journal of Consumer Affairs ... fascinating... ambitious and interesting... -Canadian Advertising Foundation Newsletter ... an anthropological dig into consumerism brimming with original thought... -The Globe and Mail Grant McCracken has written a provocative book that puts consumerism in its place in Western society-at the centre. -Report on Business Magazine ... a stimulating addition to knowledge and theory about the interrelationship of culture and consumption. -Choice [McCracken's] synthesis of anthropological and consumer studies material will give historians new ideas and methods to integrate into their thinking. -Maryland Historian The book offers a fresh and much needed cultural interpretation of consumption. -Journal of Consumer Policy The volume will help balance the prevailing cognitive and social psychological cast of consumer research and should stimulate more comprehensive investigation into consumer behavior. -Journal of Marketing Research ... broad scope, enthusiasm and imagination... a significant contribution to the literature on consumption history, consumer behavior, and American material culture. -Winterhur Portfolio For this is a superb book, a definitive exploration of its subject that makes use of the full range of available literature. -American Journal of Sociology McCracken's book is a fine synthesis of a new current of thought that strives to create an interdisciplinary social science of consumption behaviors, a current to which folklorists have much to contribute. -Journal of American Folklore This provocative book takes a refreshing new view of the culture of consumption. McCracken examines the interplay of culture and consumer behavior from the anthropologist's point of view and provides new insights into the way we view ourselves