Thesis Eleven Centre Postgraduate/Staff Masterclass
University of Southern Denmark
Consuming Ourselves to Death – The Ethics and Myth of Our Time
What is the status of utility and consumption in modernity and postmodernity? I see trans- or postmodernity as a phase of modernity. The modern project of autonomy was, from the start, blurred by the myth of progress and the assumption of certainty that also were parts of modern imaginary. Postmodernity, I argue, is when these assumptions lose most of their intensity, when it becomes clearer that the industrial revolution does not necessarily lead to the establishment of paradise on earth. This does not, however, entail a refocus on autonomy as an end, but a refocus on the means as such. In postmodern times, we are urged to engage forcefully with the present while still pretending to build the future. The future is not so much a goal but an alibi. There is no longer need to wonder, just the desire to consume. Consume and fall into oblivion, that is to say: forget to wonder about what fundamentally could make sense. Castoriadis: “We are living not in a society of the spectacle but in a society of oblivion: forgetting of death, forgetting of the fact that life has no meaning other than the one is capable of giving to it. The spectacle is there to facilitate and cover over this oblivion.” In such a context, consumption reinforces and generalizes more than ever the cult of novelty. This paper explores the origins, uses and consequences of post-modern consumption.
Friday 4 October 2013
1pm – 5 pm
Martin Building, 488
La Trobe University, Bundoora
Dominique Bouchet is Chair Professor of International Marketing at the Department of Marketing and Management at the University of Southern Denmark – Odense. He has held this position since 1992. For 14 years he has also served as the Director of Doctoral Programs in Social Sciences, including Economics, Law, Journalism, Political Science, and Business Science. He is also a visiting professor on the international doctoral programme at ESSEC in Paris where he teaches the advanced qualitative methods course. His main research interests cover social change and cultural differences. He teaches courses in cross-cultural marketing, cross-cultural communication, social psychology, and cultural analysis in relation to marketing and management, marketing and social change, advertising, and applied semiotics. Dominique Bouchet is the author or co-author of more than 30 books and 100 articles published in ten languages. For more information, see http://bouchet.dk/. He is best known for his work on The Ambiguity of the Modern Conception of Autonomy and the Paradox of Culture, which he will discuss at this masterclass.