Consumption and the Social Organization of the Illusion

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 8:30 AM
Room: Booth 43
Oral Presentation
Isleide FONTENELLE , Fundação Getulio Vargas-São Paulo, Brazil

Isleide A. Fontenelle

Associate Professor - Fundação Getulio Vargas- Brazil



 In order to reflect on the reach and limits of the social organization of the illusion that constitutes the very nature of capitalism, and based on the transformations that are occurring in contemporary capitalism, this article analyses how consumption lies at the very heart of the operation of this illusion. The analysis adopts the Marxist approach with regard to consumption’s place in expanding value within the context of industrial capitalism. It also looks at the history of marketing strategies that aim to produce a consumer as a new form of subjectivity who is moved by a desire to consume. Resorting to the dialectical method as developed by Marx, i.e. based on the idea of movement and contradiction, the article tries to reveal the contradictions that surround the consumption sphere in the predominant financial and immaterial operating methods assumed by current capitalism, which may result in the possibility of over-consumption, which in turn leads to the non-realization of value.  While this points, on the one hand, to the possibility of capitalism coming up against something that is in itself impossible, like the infinite self-expansion of capital, on the other, the solutions sought, also in the field of consumption, point to a hyper-commercialization of the spheres of life and knowledge, which sets in motion new merchandise expansion mechanisms through the privatization of culture, creativity and human life itself, leading to an equivalent of the “enclosure of the commons”.