Publication details

Werbung im Kontext: Perspektiven auf ein neues ethnologisches Forschungsfeld. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 134: 213-251.

Article

Author(s): Röschenthaler, Ute
Year of publication: 2009

Abstract: This contribution explores some of the reasons why anthropology has largely neglected the study of advertisements. It summarizes the approach of the social sciences to advertising and discusses the few anthropological contributions to the field. It then opens up directions for the study of advertising in mainly three domains: Firstly, the elaboration of an ethnography of advertising in specific cultural, economic and political settings, which might later be compared to other such settings. This is illustrated by examples from Cameroon and Mali. Secondly, the study of social and historical contexts of advertising in order to show its strong relationship with other forms of persuasion and with earlier forms of advertising. Thirdly, the contribution of anthropological knowledge to a better understanding of present-day commercial advertising. Examples are the knowledge about the relationship between persons and things, dramatized behaviour of individuals, or ritualized activities such as tournaments of value. The argument is that commercial advertising is a specific form of dramatised strategic communication among other such forms which does not simply aim at convincing consumers to buy a product. It should be rather understood as a mediated competitive staging of companies in the public sphere.

Keywords: Kommunikation, Normen, Kamerun, Werbung, Inszenierungen, ethnologisches Forschungsfeld, Mali

Subject(s): ethnology

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