Guy Debord, is a sociological theorist and is best known for his work, The Society of the Spectacle. In this piece Debord, illustrates the word spectacle as a way for capitalism to turn appearance into a commodity. Through spectaction Debord shows how capitalist make us view things the way they want us to see them, so in a sense it’s a one sided dialogue. We are showed the term spectacle in everyday life through; mass media, television, celebrities, and advertisements. Debord focuses on how being spectacle invades our human being and social activity by allowing it to take over what we believe is real. People in consumerism, place images in the real world and put that image as a need/want. For instance, the iphones, apple made this product to make tons of money off people at ridiculous prices but the way the market makes the iphone appear makes everyone want it. Regardless of the fact of whether or not people have money to afford this phone, they allow people to get credit cards.
Credit cards, are allowed for everyone and it creates more money for the rich, because we are giving more money to the rich. When society popularizes a product like the iphone everyone wants it, and this allows for us poor people to make the rich attain their rich power because by allowing the rich to make more money they are able to put out more advertisements. Debord states the spectacle is a permanent opium war waged to make it impossible to distinguish goods from commodities. Some people buy products and are not even aware of why they are buying them, other than to hold a social status. For instance, going back into the iphone topic, the new iphones just came out and the only difference between the iphone 6 and iphone 8 is the camera. People paid $800 for supposedly better picture quality, after asking a few friends why they paid for the iphone 8, they said I don’t know, because it is new? Our society is manipulated by the higher power of wealth who feed us images that deceive our society into making them feel that with purchasing a product allows society members feel popular and a glimpse of wealth.
C. Wright Mills
C.Wright Mills, is a sociological theorists who wrote a theory based on the Power Elite, which are a small group of individuals who dominate the American Policy making. Mills theory is based on the fact that the whole country is ran by three major groups who are apart of the power elite; economy, government, and military. Mills states that the elite are those who are powerful, wealthy, and prestige. Mills believes that these groups base their decisions in a sense that their power will be protected, even if their decisions are not good for the society.
The biggest example of this is, our very own President Donald Trump, before his presidency he was/is a wealthy business man who was able to make large contributions to his own political candidacy. Mills states, Like wealth and power, prestige tends to be cumulative: the more of it you have, the more you can get. Mills is demonstrating through forms of power, people are able to take over our world with help of wealth and prestige in which we provide them with. People from these three major groups know that they are in power and know that they can utilize their power to take control over our society to make the world for the rich to become even wealthier.
Herbert Marcuse, a sociological theorists is known for his theory, One Dimensional Man. Marcuse elaborates on freedom and what it means to be a free individual, he states that when we as an individual feel as if we are free, we are actually not free at all. By this he is arguing that one dimensional man, is going to lack a lot of tools that are going to think themselves outside of capitalism. That the forms of thought, daily life, and culture that exists are being created in capitalism such that they restrict people’s ability to imagine outside of capitalism in a lot of ways. One aspect of this is the way everything gets turned into a commodity. The function of capitalism is to create things to be sold. Something does not exist as a commodity unless it could be sold. One aspect of capitalism is finding commodities,ways to commoditize things that were previously not commoditized.
People apart of our culture commoditize everyday by wearing images that no longer have meaning, other than just to display. We are now able to commoditize instantly over a day, for instance Kylie from Keeping up with the Kardashians, was able to come out with a lipstick kit that was able to sell out overnight. Something that used to take time do commoditize is now being commoditized within minutes. Marcuse points out that you lose the ability to think in categorical ways. You need the ability to think outside of social structures in order to have other possibilities. If every aspect of our imaginative tool box is commodified then we are going to have a hard time. For instance the tv shows that are new and popular are all about referencing other tv shows, it’s pretty much the same tv show but with different names. The one dimensional part is that this type of system of thought does not give us many tools to imagine ourselves outside of new possibilities. Marcuse also brings up the term herded, in which he does not mean herding cattle he means for a sense of ideas. For example, with all these new technologies, what used to be an american phenomenon because we all had tvs is now a global phenomenon. The spread of the culture and commodification by necessity just expands across the whole globe.