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Representations – A critical look at media’s role in cleanliness conventions and inconspicuous consumption

Jack, Tullia LU (2018) In Journal of Consumer Culture
Abstract
In post-industrialist societies, similar high standards of living are becoming not only desired but also expected the world over. Globalising processes ensure that every material desire is within the reach of ordinary citizens, and then flame these desires in order to sustain continuous growth narratives. But are increasingly resource-intensive lifestyles sustainable, or even desirable? This article investigates cleanliness using representations in media to understand how practices – including washing, disinfecting and sanitising – have become increasingly normal. Five popular Swedish magazines from 1985 to 2015 are used to track the representations of cleanliness. Idealisation, shame and medicalisation are the main themes arising from... (More)
In post-industrialist societies, similar high standards of living are becoming not only desired but also expected the world over. Globalising processes ensure that every material desire is within the reach of ordinary citizens, and then flame these desires in order to sustain continuous growth narratives. But are increasingly resource-intensive lifestyles sustainable, or even desirable? This article investigates cleanliness using representations in media to understand how practices – including washing, disinfecting and sanitising – have become increasingly normal. Five popular Swedish magazines from 1985 to 2015 are used to track the representations of cleanliness. Idealisation, shame and medicalisation are the main themes arising from this data set. These themes aim to perpetuate higher cleanliness conventions and translate them into consumer goods. The article is inspired by a critical theoretical perspective which helps to reveal inequalities perpetuated by the way media represents cleanliness and suggests that the imperative to clean falls most heavily on those who lack the resources to resist. Processes of inclusion and exclusion are inherent in consumer culture and this attempt at using critical theory to understand consumption practices illuminates consumption’s role in not only increasing pressure on the natural environment but also amplifying social stratification. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
cleanliness, magazines, representation, social practice, Sweden, media, inconspicuous consumption, critical theory, discourse, sustainability
in
Journal of Consumer Culture
publisher
SAGE Publications
external identifiers
  • scopus:85058628462
ISSN
1741-2900
DOI
10.1177/1469540518806958
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
14e039b0-4be5-4212-b365-5af1275fe91a
date added to LUP
2018-11-23 15:55:17
date last changed
2020-01-13 01:13:11
@article{14e039b0-4be5-4212-b365-5af1275fe91a,
  abstract     = {In post-industrialist societies, similar high standards of living are becoming not only desired but also expected the world over. Globalising processes ensure that every material desire is within the reach of ordinary citizens, and then flame these desires in order to sustain continuous growth narratives. But are increasingly resource-intensive lifestyles sustainable, or even desirable? This article investigates cleanliness using representations in media to understand how practices – including washing, disinfecting and sanitising – have become increasingly normal. Five popular Swedish magazines from 1985 to 2015 are used to track the representations of cleanliness. Idealisation, shame and medicalisation are the main themes arising from this data set. These themes aim to perpetuate higher cleanliness conventions and translate them into consumer goods. The article is inspired by a critical theoretical perspective which helps to reveal inequalities perpetuated by the way media represents cleanliness and suggests that the imperative to clean falls most heavily on those who lack the resources to resist. Processes of inclusion and exclusion are inherent in consumer culture and this attempt at using critical theory to understand consumption practices illuminates consumption’s role in not only increasing pressure on the natural environment but also amplifying social stratification.},
  author       = {Jack, Tullia},
  issn         = {1741-2900},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications},
  series       = {Journal of Consumer Culture},
  title        = {Representations – A critical look at media’s role in cleanliness conventions and inconspicuous consumption},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/54801504/Paper_3.pdf},
  doi          = {10.1177/1469540518806958},
  year         = {2018},
}