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Seats and forms of power: to what extent advertising is able to control us: is it a traduction of our society, or is it controlling society?

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NOTION SEATS AND FORMS OF POWER

I’m going to deal with the notion « seats and forms of power ». To begin with, I’d like to give a definition of the notion. Power implies a form of control on somebody or something. It is the fact one can influence a way of thinking or acting, and it generally implies a form of contestation against it. It is defined by seats, but also forms : executive, legislative, judicial, and also, press, which is considered as the « fourth power ». As medias are under control as much as we are, and as advertising is a major topic in medias, we could focus on it. To an end, we may wonder in what extent advertising is able to control us : is it a traduction of our society, or is it controlling society?

I. ADVERTISING IS A TRADUCTION OF OUR SOCIETY AND IT WOULD HELP SOCIETY GROWING.

—> advertisings form the sixties, nowadays’ awareness of dangers, advertising illustrates the values of a decade.

• It can be denied that advertising is a real illustration of a society’s values : in a way, society would be a form of power, as it can influence advertising and common opinion. The best way to describe it is to take the example of the sixties. As this decade was illustrated by a strict division of the tasks in the couple, the father being a « bread winner » and the mother a « house keeper », a clear repercussion on advertising has been noticed. To illustrate this idea, we have studied some ads from this decade : the most thought-provoking of them are the one about kitchen products, which were destined to women only, as they were considered as « house keepers »…

—> Cf slogans..

• Nowadays, in tv as much as in newspapers or in the streets, lots of sensibilizing commercials are released every year. This fact is surely explained by nowadays’ awareness of dangers : about drinking alcohol before driving, or fire… As we have seen in class with two commercials

(accidents et incendies). As a result, advertising, by illustrating the need of rise the awareness of the population, it would help society.

II. ADVERTISING ALSO CONTROLS SOCIETY AND THE WAY IT ACTS.

—> Advertising controls our consumption, and more than that, advertising is under control itself.

• Advertising is literally omnipresent in our lives : tv, newspapers, radio, flyers in the streets… As a result, it would « brain wash » us. In fact, advertising manipulates us to get us to consume what they want, as we have studied in a text of Justin Lewis, head of the journalism school of Cardiff University.

• He highlights three main issues in nowadays advertising : the promises of advertising are empty, an environmental problem because of consumption. Too much growth is dangerous. Our growth will be unsustainable. we have to find a new way of deal with economic growth.

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