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Critical Analysis of Consumerism and Advertising in Digital Age

Implications of Hegemonic Power and Surveillance-Based Advertising Economy

For this assignment you will write an essay that critically analyses one topic of your choice from the following list:

1. Tufekci makes use of Gramsci’s concept of “hegemony” to discuss social media platforms and their surveillance-based advertising systems. Using examples from Google or Facebook, discuss the implications of this hegemonic power and the surveillance-based online advertising economy. (Readings from week 6)

2. Han argues that “Neoliberalism makes citizens into consumers”. Discuss how advertising for either a political campaign or product of your choice exhibits this blurring of boundaries.

3. Billig argues that “In consumer capitalism people’s sense of personal identity is bound up with the regular acquisition of material possessions” and that “in the contemporary world, to have is to be”. Giving an example of one single product of your choice, discuss how it signifies personal identities through the ideology of consumerism and commodity fetishism. 

Your analysis should incorporate a small number of examples of advertising media that you have selected to illustrate your points. These examples should be discussed fully in a way that demonstrates your own critical perspective, and without lengthy description. You must refer to the appropriate readings available on C4 and also find additional academic resources from academic databases and libraries to provide evidence for your discussion and to support your arguments. You may also incorporate readings and concepts from other weeks if you wish. All resources that you refer to must be properly cited in the text of your essay and also be listed in a bibliography at the end of your essay.

Your assignments will be marked according to the following criteria:

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