Modernization makes life hell

Consumer ideology

The ecological crisis is omnipresent, and airlines have apparently been fighting for a long time
and car manufacturers (media-effective) against it. The narrative: We can save our planet without fundamentally changing our way of life. We just have to consume properly!
These attempts - they are now called "green capitalism", "sustainable growth" or "ecological modernization" - are demonstrably doomed to failure. It is less about dealing with the ecological crisis than about opening up new fields of capitalist accumulation, ultimately about the ideological maintenance of existing relationships of power and domination.
Following on from Herbert Marcuse, Johannes Greß tries to throw a new perspective on the current ideological function of consumption. The guideline for action is Marcuse's thesis, according to which consumption functions as the ideology for integrating the (oppositional) masses into the capitalist system.
Marcuse's theses are subjected to a theoretical and conceptual revision and supplemented by considerations by Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Žižek. In the following, concrete, current “ideological symptoms” are examined based on these considerations: Why does a German transport minister defend himself against any scientific evidence with hands, feet and photo interviews against a speed limit on German motorways?
Small details and unevenness in everyday life are described, which point to a larger, systemic ideological dysfunction. In order to focus on this, one needs an understanding of consumer ideology as the result of a «politics of jouissance», the targeted stimulation and administration of (consumer) needs.

Greß, Johannes:
Consumer ideology
From organic bananas, Postdemokr. and Green Capatalism
ISBN 3-89657-037-4
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Author info
Johannes Greß
Preview autumn 21 (politics)