Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Communication and Rhetorical Studies
Consumption, Cultural Ritual, Hegemony, Resistance
This thesis analyzes Black Friday media, consumption, and resistance spaces to interrogate the construction of and opposition to the hegemonic consumer. In order to investigate hegemonic consumerism, my work is divided into three chapters in which I perform a rhetorical critique of Black Friday spaces: mediated space, consumptive space, and resistance space. In the first chapter, I analyze mediated space, offering a close analysis of 10 Black Friday commercials to identify mediated constructions of the hegemonic consumer. In the second chapter, I employ ethnographic research to assess consumptive space, specifically the retail space of Target on Black Friday to engage an analysis of the rhetoric of consumption and enactment of the hegemonic consumer. The third chapter offers a rhetorical critique of "What Would Jesus Buy?," a documentary featuring anti-consumption activists Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, to examine resistance space that thwarts the mediated and consumptive hegemonic consumer.
The mediated and consumptive spaces simultaneously contribute to the contemporary construct of the hegemonic consumer. In both spaces, the hegemonic consumer demonstrates their cultural values through their consumptive behavior. The resistance space problematizes both the construct and the enactment of the hegemonic consumer. Through the trajectory of three Black Friday textual artifacts, my goal is to identify how the hegemonic consumer occupies mediated, consumptive, and resistance spaces. The mediated hegemonic consumer does more than maintain normative public values; the hegemonic consumer also calls upon subjects to fulfill the role through consumptive enactment. When the hegemonic consumer is resisted and problematized, consumptive acts continue to persist as components to the proposed alternative - Reverend Billy's ideal consumer still consumes, but does so to aid others and uphold the nostalgic Christmas. Through media, cultural rituals, and even resistance efforts, consumption is illuminated as an integral public value.
Soule, Emily Anne, "'Twas the Night Before Black Friday: A Rhetorical Analysis of Hegemonic Consumerism in Mediated, Consumptive, and Resistance Spaces" (2013). Communication and Rhetorical Studies - Theses. 2.