The mass media that appeared at the end of the 19th century made people spiritually distanced from the community and entered the rich In the consumption imagination of symbolic objects.
Changes in infrastructure and the resulting development of commodities have caused anthropological changes, changing people’s ideology and living standards. As capital takes root, people enjoy more and more activities. People who once adhered to ascetic teachings now value individual freedom and self-expression. Independent selves are established, at least people think so.
collective order and collective spirit
Before the market came into being, the vast majority were in subsistence farming communities. Many things depend on the cooperation of people in the community. For example, to store enough food for winter, collective labor is required, because the workload of harvesting food and drying hay cannot be completed by a few people, and requires the village community to provide labor force.
Other tasks, such as shelling, bleeding pigs, tending cattle, or doing laundry, are often done together. In this economic structure, in which individual survival depends on the collective, no conception of the individual’s desire to consume develops. At the time, the mentality of modern individualism was unbelievable because it was incompatible with collective needs.
In addition to collective work, people’s personal lives also belong to the community, and marriage and family need the support of the community.
First, in peasant communities, marriage constitutes the union of two laborers, a man and a woman who will face the hard work required for production together. Their parents, like their masters, guide their children in choosing a partner and dominate the marriage. According to the land law, children belong to the parents, and they may be excluded if they leave the family, and may even wander and die. Whether it’s a vigil, a walk, a party, a dance or a market, the couples’ every move is under the eyes of the community residents, and the elders can always pay attention to the state of the young people.
In a pre-capitalist society, there was no state in the modern sense. Small communities assumed the functions of legislation and law enforcement, and the collective was the controller of the individual. The subordination of the individual to the collective is a core principle of the traditional order, which can also be explained by the conditions of existence of matter. Until the 19th century, most human groups depended on their own strength and their surroundings for survival. Everyone is born, grows and dies within the limited space of their community.
Each person’s sensory experience is limited to what he can reach, and all projections start from the community and go back to the community. Moreover, each isolated community lived, as Braudel put it, in “ancient organic systems,” with people living in conditions of extreme poverty and mortality, brought about by famine and disease. The struggle for survival is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. These mentalities of people can be called “production mentality”. The social culture formed under this mentality pays more attention to saving, advocating work, and promoting a simple and budget-conscious lifestyle. This culture continued in the middle and lower classes until the end of the 19th century.
However, from the mid-19th century, economic and social structures changed, and the old production mentality broke down.
young man’s escape
The mentality of the generation born between 1880 and 1910 was particularly marked. They are the first generation to grow up in a market society, and their lives are filled with images, catalogues, media and movies, and there is a commercial atmosphere everywhere. This generation of young people has more opportunities to be freed from the community than previous generations. They get spiritual pleasure through the media, and convenient transportation allows them to truly escape from closed groups.
People’s entertainment used to consist of free activities within the community, but now entertainment is increasingly commercialized. In the entertainment venues of young people, people are liberated from the constraints of traditional customs. Commercialized entertainment facilities free people from the shackles of traditional customs and stimulate people’s desire to seek spiritual freedom.
To fully understand the commodification of entertainment in the late 19th century, let’s compare two typical leisure activities in traditional and modern societies: vigils and trips to amusement parks.
At vigils, farmers gather at night to sing, play, dance and tell stories. Vigils are intergenerational, local events, where people take turns meeting in various houses in the village, and entertainment is free and free. With the commodification of leisure activities, such activities gradually disappeared. On the contrary, the amusement park that emerged in the early 20th century created a separate entertainment space away from people’s living and working places. Here entertainment becomes a commodity, professionally equipped and sold as a service. In fact, the meaning of vigil is not only entertainment, but also economic. By getting together, everyone can save precious firewood for heating and expensive candles for lighting. People can also sing and chat while sifting nuts. , while weaving clothes and baskets. During vigils, young people also have the opportunity to court each other through games.
So vigils are functional in nature, while amusement parks are completely hedonistic and have nothing to do with work. In the entertainment venues provided by businesses, entertainment activities are freed from public constraints and geographical restrictions, and couples can enjoy more easily without worrying about being watched or caring about the feelings of their elders. People have cultivated a spirit of entertainment through this.
Young people at the turn of the century broke away from the real community and joined the “imaginary community”, giving birth to a market segment aimed at them. This subdivision is manifested in the market locking the corresponding age group, developing the corresponding product, and developing the corresponding culture. This has resulted in a fluid, open consumer society, where people’s identities are no longer established within the narrow framework of self-sufficient production communities, but are established and manifested through the various experiences and products sold by the market and its media.
For twentieth-century young people, patterns of “same and different” unfold within them, according to codes and signs specific to their generation’s imaginary communities. For the first time, products aimed at young people and constituting their own consumer culture have appeared, such as novels and films based on the lives of students, and young people’s clothing styles have been featured in catalogs and magazines. The media touts the language and fashion of young people. The ideological upheaval is based on economic and infrastructural changes: through the development of the wage system, many young people have found a new position as independent and solvent.
Moreover, in the first half of the 20th century, more and more women also left their homes to work in big cities and earn a living wage. Economic growth and industrial development have contributed to the emergence of national education systems, which have also led to an increasing number of young people leaving their families and communities. In school, young people are with and identified with their peers. As William Loktenburg summed it up “: The family has lost many of its original functions – the state, the factory, the school and even the place of mass entertainment have deprived the family of the functions it once had.”
Youth has become a virtual concept that can be consumed through consumption To cultivate, the whole society is under its control.