Capitalism, Yo! Yo! Yo!
Andrew White is a second year Masters Student in Critical Studies in the USC School of Cinematic Arts and an intern for the Lear Center's BrandSpace project.
BrandSpace, led by USC Annenberg Professor Sarah Banet-Weiser, is an interdisciplinary project that examines the way in which new practices, imaginations and politics are being created within the parameters of commercial brand culture.
Real estate mogul Donald Trump received a BA from the Wharton School of Business. Hip hop artist Jay-Z (aka Sean Carter) got his MBA from the Marcy Projects. What do these two popular icons have in common? The endless search for the almighty dollar.
It is no mystery that capitalist ideology drives our current socioeconomic system. For years now, cultural studies scholars have acknowledged the impact of capitalism on our everyday lives, focusing specifically on the production of cultural artifacts and the discourse surrounding systems of representation. Cultural studies has emerged in recent decades out of a liberal humanist tradition, offering a critique of art and culture through a particular analytical framework that focuses on close readings and textual analysis. Through this analytical lens, scholars and critics tend to approach popular culture with a certain distance, acknowledging the impact of capitalism while dismissing the underlying implications of what it means to participate in a culture of consumption.