chapter  1
18 Pages

Consumer culture and English history’s lost object

WithSteve Hall

When Mediaeval England’s fragile Distributivist project was washed away by a potent economic and sociolegal current, the way was cleared for the normalisation of the pseudo-pacification process as the cultural mainstay of the parallel histories of modernity and capitalism. The pseudo-pacification process was a means of significantly reducing previously institutionalised physical violence for entirely the wrong reason – to sublimate, intensify, and socially diffuse sociosymbolic competition between atomised individuals crawling from the wreckage of their traditional social institutions. The dominant subjectivity that found its rather insecure home in this process was driven to nascent consumer markets and thrown into capitalism’s mode of relentless sociosymbolic competition by an unbearable sense of loss and a subsequent desire for a form of symbolic compensation incapable of satisfying the subject. As the maintenance of pacified social relations and economic transactions became dependent on a constant procession of incrementally improved compensatory rewards, the pseudo-pacification process’s functional potency rose alongside an increasing fragility that rendered it zemiogenic and criminogenic.