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Title: Consumption and cultural commodification : the case of the museum as commodity
Author: Fitchett, James A.
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 1997
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Marketing theory has traditionally sought explanation of commodity consumption based upon psychological and economic assumptions of needs, utility and exchange value, a paradigm of understanding that is becoming increasingly problematic. An alternative perspective of commodity consumption is presented, drawing on contemporary social and cultural theory where the commodity form constitutes a cultural and social logic; a discourse of communication which consumers use to mediate and participate in daily life. Instead of defining commodities in terms of use value and economic value, the commodity is seen in terms of a specific subject-object relation experienced in late capitalism, manifest as sign value and sign exchange. Taking the case of the museum, a context that it increasingly applying the terminology of the market, consumer and commodity; a qualitative research project is undertaken to asses the credibility of the cultural theoretical approach. It is proposed that the museum functions as a site of commodification, presenting history and culture as a set of commodities for visitors consumption. Whilst sign value is a useful concept in explaining commodity consumption, it is suggested a clear distinction between use value, exchange value and sign value is unworkable in practice and that utility and exchange value can be most accurately represented as cultural conditions rather than economic ones. The study suggests that consumption should be conceptualised as a constructive, active and productive process which involves the consumer in a continual exchange, use and manipulation of signs. The role of marketing is thus most appropriately thought of as a facilitative capacity rather as a provisional or directive force that mediates consumption behaviour.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Museums Marketing ; Museums Public relations ; Consumption (Economics) Cultural theory Management