chapter  5
17 Pages

Comparison, competition and consumerism

ByRobert Crocker

Jetome and Sylvie seem engrossed in a world of continuous choice, of self-evaluation and social comparison, in which the special things in their lives are important actors, tokens on a chessboard of their own dreamt-of social advancement. The upward direction of comparison and competition can be seen in many contexts. The strategic representation of the product as an alluring and desirable representative of the brand is necessarily deceptive, and an important strategy for stimulating consumerism. The quest for the 'right' home, and especially the 'right' interior, becomes a particularly powerful driver in consumerism. Car showrooms involve the magic touch of architecture, which can further glamorize the brand and elevate its value in the eyes of the consumer. The new 'consumer citizen' of the 1950s had begun to reveal material aspirations formerly restricted to the middle classes, and a world of barriers and social tensions that seemed to be changing.