Following the line of least resistance?: advertising, agencements and crashes
Workaround: In current version of Panels 3.8, it seems this body field needs to be populated in order for title above to appear. This note is hidden by custom CSS style. Jack Latimer.
For Walter Benjamin, advertising had an uncanny capacity to use sentiment to reawaken human mimetic facility. Confronted by the giant neon images of early twentieth century advertisements, people were taught to feel and to imitate once more. From Adam Smith, through to Gabriel Tarde and Marcel Mauss, the capacity to imitate, prompted by prestigious or authoritarian examples, is the core condition of the social. This capacity to inspire emulation and imitation such that the line of least resistance subtly becomes buying the toothpaste, smoking the cigarette, wearing the perfume etc has become one of the most widely held, and widely reviled, attributes of advertising. The trouble with this lies partly in the artificial isolation of advertising from its environment and partly in the neglect of advertising’s many failures. Drawing upon the long history of life assurance promotion, the paper aims to reconsider advertising’s impact on the mimetic facility by locating it as an element within a socio-technical market device or agencement. From this perspective new forms of conduct and consumption emerge through the dynamic articulation of a range of elements which combine to make purchasing necessary, inevitable, habitual or unthinking. Yet these same elements can also collide or crash and to date the interesting questions raised by such failures have received little attention.201010CRESC/ The Open University84