Paradoxes of Social Change: Virtualization of Society, Glam-Capitalism, and Beyond

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:00
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Dmitry IVANOV, St.Petersburg state university, Russia
Conceptualizing social development requires new basis as expected by theorists ‘global society’ and ‘information society’ paradoxically became our past never being our present.

Globalization leads not to the ‘global society’ but rather toward networked enclaves of globality in big cities: Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Moscow, London, etc. People in such enclaves experience globality as borderless sociality through intensive flows of consumer goods, technologies, migrants, money, media-generated images. Postindustrialization leads not to the ‘information society’ based on knowledge intensive production but to virtualization of society based on an image intensive consumption. People’s social life is immersed in virtual realities of brands, image making, and communications through digital media.

Intensive commodification of images has leaded to overbranding and triviality of the virtualization strategy. That provokes shift of competitive advantages to hyper-virtuality of glamour. Now capitalism in postindustrial consumerism areas is transformed into glam-capitalism. Being since the 1930s specific life style or aesthetic form, glamour has become now rationality of newest version of capitalism. Glam-capitalism raises as producers in hyper-competitive market-place must glamour consumers and products must be aggressively beautiful to be intensively attractive for targeted groups. Value creation process now is related more to trends than to brands not only in fashion industry and show business but also in high-tech and financial industries.

Alternative movements like ‘copy left’ and ‘pirates’ violating ‘intellectual’ property rights challenge regime of glam-capitalism and represent the authenticity revolt against hyper-virtuality of glamour. ‘Anonymous’ hackers and activists of the ‘Indignados’ and ‘Occupy Wall Street!’ exemplify movements violating norms and rules of glam-democracy. Reaction of glam-capitalists to alter-social movements is initially oppression and then absorption of alternative tactics as source of development. Creators of trends converging patterns of glam-capitalism and alter-social movements are on the move towards alter-capitalism.