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Channels Of Desire: Mass Images and the Shaping of American Consciousness
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Channels Of Desire: Mass Images and the Shaping of American Consciousness (Paperback)

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Synopsis

We live in a culture in which the power of mass-produced, mass-distributed images and words has become all-pervasive. On the one hand, these developments have expanded perception, spread literacy, and propelled new forms of communications. On the other hand, people have experienced industrial hardship and alienation as a result of this new consumerism. Beginning with the rise of the machine and the emergence of consumerism as a common way of life, the authors lay a strong foundation for an understanding of 20th-century American media culture. Spanning a wide range of subjects - movies, fashion, tabloid journalism - Ewen & Ewen offer forceful insights into the mechanisms that link alluring images and popular imagination to the entrenched structures of power. "Channels of Desire" attempts to understand the social history that stands behind the apparent immortality of a consumer society - its universe of commodities, its priorities and social forms. Within this framework, the authors discuss modern consumer culture and the way fashion embodies the consumer ethic - stressing image over substance, desire over satisfaction, and the individual over society.

Stuart Ewen is the author of "All-consuming Images: the Politics of Style in Contemporary Culture" and "Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture". Elizabeth Ewen is the author of "Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars: Life and Culture on the Lower East Side 1890-1925".

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