Brand Culture: Exploring Althusser’s Impact on Consumerism
Louis Althusser’s theories of ideology have become a driving force in the understanding of contemporary consumerism. Althusser’s concept of Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs) is a tool used to explain how culture and the state are interlinked in terms of the influence they have on individuals, and how this impacts consumerism. As noted by Stahl and de Andrade, “the ISAs are responsible for the production of the imaginary social relation between the consumer and the product, which in turn leads to the creation of a brand culture” (2020, p. 21). By understanding how ISAs produce a “brand culture”, we can better explore the relationship between consumerism and culture. The documentary What Would Jesus Buy? provides evidence that ISAs can be used to influence and create a brand culture. This is illustrated by the film’s exploration of The Church of Stop Shopping, a movement that uses religion to fight against the influence that ISAs have on consumerism. As noted by the Church’s leader, Reverend Billy, “we are in a struggle against the commercialization of our faith, the commercialization of our culture, and… Cont…
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