The Politics of Representation: Marketing Alcohol through Rap Music

  • Denise A. Herd


The new consumer society holds important implications for the politics of identity and social equity among ethnic and racial minorities. Where these struggles were formerly articulated primarily through conflicts over labour and production (particularly in the slave and post-reconstruction periods), increasingly they are mediated through the politics of consumption. In post-colonial society, oppressed groups not only fight for greater participation in the consumer economy, they also fight to defend themselves against some of its excesses, such as environmental waste from more affluent consumers, and the aggressive marketing of addictive products like alcohol and tobacco. As in previous eras, the conflicts over citizenship and participation are enacted in part through cultural representations. In the nineteenth century, images of savagery and bestiality justified social and military control over the labour and consumption behaviour of subaltern groups. In post-industrial society, the cultural forms of oppressed groups are appropriated by advertisers and infused with images and meanings that subvert resistance and increase domination and alienation.


Black Community Black Youth Oppressed Group Liquor Store Social Protest 
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Copyright information

© Pekka Sulkunen, John Holmwood, Hilary Radner and Gerhard Schulze 1997

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  • Denise A. Herd

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