다문화주의와 소비 문화-소비주의와 미국의 정체성
Multiculturalism and Consumer Culture: Consumerism and American Identity
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.23, pp. 39-53
- This paper examines the emergence of therapeutic consumer culture during the late 19th century from the earlier producer culture; then looks into the spread of the culture of commdoities as the American Way of life; and finally turns to the problems the emerging notion of the consumer citizenship entails. The nature of American experience has been a consistent concern for many writers who have suggested various metaphors to describe it. The melting pot, the salad bowl, the mosaic, the quilt, aIl grasp one aspect of American people and their Iife but none adequately expresses its unity and diversity at the same time. The pizza image seems to contain both qualities better. While its diverse toppings suggest the distinct experiences of various groups of American society, it is the encompassing cheese that holds them together as a nation. What functioned as a cheese in American society was different from time to time, but it is consumerism, among other things, that functions as a bond which holds Americans together for the past several scores. Consumer culture has a tremendous impact on various aspects of American life. It has permeated into every sector of American life and has cut across the boundaries of class, gender, race, and ethnicity. My concern in this paper is the future of the civiI society in the face of expanding consumerism. If democracy means , government by, for, and of citizens who are concerned with socia1 justice and equa1ity, consumerism jeopardizes democracy. It implicitly defines democracy in terms of equa1 access to consumer products, and freedom of choice in the marketplace is perceived as a freedom in civil society. But the freedom of consumers consists of the right to buy in markets that they cannot control. It offers the feel of freedom while diminishing the range of options and power to affect the larger world.