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Commercialization of culture Case Study

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Sunanda K. Chavan
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Commercialization of culture Case Study - September 14th, 2010

Commercialization of culture Case Study


When political economists analyze the commercialization of culture, they tend to focus upon structural characteristics by which cultural products are transformed into commodity forms.

By expanding this inquiry into the social relations of culture and ideology, however, it may be possible to open further dimensions of analysis.

Specifically, how do the structural relations of production (for example, ownership and control, economies of scale, modes of distribution) bear

upon the social and ideological relations of consumption? Ellen Riordan (2002) insists that the way in which structure

influences media content and ideology within the context of consumer practices is underexplored and undertheorized. “In

order to further understand capitalism, and its relationship to the daily lives of people, political economists must focus

on the meaning of consumption, not only as it results from a crisis of overproduction, but also… (in) understanding

wants and desires as experienced by individuals and groups of people…” (Riordan6).

To that end, it looks at three cultural products whose structures of production have deep relations to the ideology and

practice of consumption. It explores the phenomenon of malling, a place “to shore up the boundaries of the self via

commodities which beckon with promise of perfection…” (Morse 198). It looks at the commercialization of children’s

culture in which business synergies are resulting, critics say, in the appropriation of child’s play and imagination. And

finally, it examines the relations between advertisers and magazines, where policies of control and censorship lead to

the reproduction of idealized images, and people are made to identify themselves not with what they produce, but with

what they consume

Case Study

1) The R&D/production interface is a key component of the innovation process. Effective transfer of technology across

this interface has a direct bearing on the success of commercializing new technologies. Martin Ginn and Albert

Rubenstein intensively studied three strategic business units of a major chemical company to examine how behavioral

and performance variables interrelate for the key participants. The interface was found to be a key focus for

interpersonal conflict. The conflict was found to be exacerbated by such factors as goal incompatibility, manufacturing

complexity, uncertainty of product outcomes, exercises of power, and imperatives for action. Interestingly, projects

which were more successful, both technically and commercially, tended to have higher levels of conflict and more

superordinate goals than those that were less successful. Increasing compatibility of goals among participating groups

is suggested as a means for improving interface relations.

2) This study investigates the impacts of tourism, as perceived by the residents of Pythagorion, a well-established

tourism destination on the Greek island of Samos. Interviews conducted with heads of households revealed that

residents not only supported the current magnitude of the tourism industry but also favored its expansion. Despite this,

the respondents identified a number of negative tourism impacts, which, in their opinion, affected the town. These

impacts included high prices, drug addiction, vandalism, brawls, sexual harassment and crimes. The study reconfirmed

that those respondents who were economically dependent on tourism had more positive attitudes towards the industry

than those who were not dependent on it.

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