The Objects of Affection: Semiotics and Consumer Culture

Paperback | July 15, 2010

byArthur Asa Berger

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In this book, preeminent semiotician Arthur Asa Berger decodes the meanings of common objects of consumption and their perceived “sacredness” in consumerist cultures. Using semiotic theory, consumer culture is dissected in new and fascinating ways. The first part of the book introduces semiotic theory and its key theorists and practitioners. The second part applies semiotic theory to interpret advertising, marketing, and branding. With levity and precision, Berger leads students to think critically about our lives and the menu of lifestyles promoted by corporations that profit from branded consumption.

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In this book, preeminent semiotician Arthur Asa Berger decodes the meanings of common objects of consumption and their perceived “sacredness” in consumerist cultures. Using semiotic theory, consumer culture is dissected in new and fascinating ways. The first part of the book introduces semiotic theory and its key theorists and practiti...

Arthur Asa Berger is Professor Emeritus of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts at San Francisco State University. He is the author or editor of more than sixty books, including Ads, Fads and Consumer Culture; Shop ‘Til You Drop; and Agitpop: Political Culture and Communication Theory. 

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:212 pages, 9.67 × 5.61 × 0.46 inPublished:July 15, 2010Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230103731

ISBN - 13:9780230103733

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Table of Contents

PART I: Semiotic Theory * Theories of Consumer Cultures * Marketing Theory and Semiotics * PART II: Semiotic Applications * Brands and Identity: We Are Our Brands * The Objects of Our Affection: Selected Case Studies * Appendix: Learning Games and Activities

Editorial Reviews

"This seductively simple yet erudite introduction to semiotics examines the psychological, religious, and cultural roots of consumer culture and the objects individuals buy and brand themselves with...Rich food for thought and intellectual engagement."--CHOICE“Books with true insight into consumer motivations are exceedingly rare. Arthur Berger's The Objects of Affection is one such book. From neckties to shampoo, he outlines with great precision the associations that drive desire across a broad swathe of product categories. Even more fundamentally, he weaves in the importance of cultural truths, evolving yet enduring insights into an individual's relationship with his society, that too many marketers ignore in their quest for global mass appeal. Berger's book, erudite and witty, is a rallying cry to embrace consumers' deeper motivations as the key to enduring profit and resonance in consumers' lives.”—Tom Doctoroff, Greater China CEO for JWT and author of Billions: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer“Berger writes with wit . . . his account of semiotics and consumer culture is clear, concise, and enjoyable.” --Eileen Meehan, Professor of Radio and Television Studies, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale“Berger’s scholarly yet impish wit shines through in this brilliant adventure into the exotica of the everyday, a book brimming with astonishing insights into the imaginary souls of the stuff around us. Watch out for that innocent-looking toaster over there—he may be signifying something!”—Greg Rowland, founder of Greg Rowland Semiotics