28 September 2008

The power of marketing in the formation of class identity – an examination of consumerism in young adult fiction

Consumerism, materialism and individualism are all common terms applied to modern society in the western world. Since the time of Marx the signifiers of class have shifted from the production function to the consumption process and this has only recently become evident in young adult fiction. The Insiders (Minter 2004), Feed (Anderson 2002) and So Yesterday (Westerfeld 2004) are three such books laden with consumerism. The Insiders, contains prominent brand names to draw the distinction between cultural groups, niche marketing is demonstrated and resisted in the novel So Yesterday and the futuristic novel Feed illustrates how consumerism and the marketing of products could progress in the future. These novels will be investigated through general marketing theory, economic theory and Bourdieu’s social theory to demonstrate how young people form identity through consumption and corporations bolster their power through the marketing process.