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The cultural consumption research landscape of the 21st century is marked by an increasing cross-disciplinary fermentation. At the same time, cultural theory and analysis have been marked by successive ‘inter-’ turns, most notably with regard to the Big Four: multimodality (or intermodality), interdiscursivity, transmediality (or intermediality), and intertextuality. This book offers an outline of interdiscursivity as an integrative platform for accommodating these notions. To this end, a call for a return to Foucault is issued via a critical engagement with the so-called practice-turn. This re-turn does not seek to reconstitute venerably Foucauldianism, but to theorize ‘inters-’ as vanishing points that challenge the integrity of discrete cultural orders in non-convergent manners. The propounded interdiscursivity approach is offered as a reading strategy that permeates the contemporary cultural consumption phenomena that are scrutinized in this book, against a pan-consumptivist framework. By drawing on qualitative and mixed methods research designs, facilitated by CAQDAS software, the empirical studies that are hosted here span a vivid array of topics that are directly relevant to both traditional and new media researchers, such as the consumption of ideologies in Web 2.0 social movements, the ability of micro-celebrities to act as cultural game-changers, the post-loyalty abjective consumption ethos. The theoretically novel approaches on offer are coupled with methodological innovations in areas such as user-generated content, artists’ branding, and experiential consumption.
Readings in Cultural
Consumer Research
Readings in Cultural
Consumer Research
George Rossolatos
Interdiscursive Readings in Cultural Consumer Research
By George Rossolatos
This book first published 2018
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Lady Stephenson Library, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2PA, UK
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Copyright © 2018 by George Rossolatos
All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without
the prior permission of the copyright owner.
ISBN (10): 1-5275-1372-6
ISBN (13): 978-1-5275-1372-3
List of Figures............................................................................................ vii
List of Tables ............................................................................................ viii
Chapter One ................................................................................................. 1
Inter-Everything: Resuming the Discursive Turn in Cultural Consumer
Consuming Experiences, Practices and Spectacles
Chapter Two .............................................................................................. 58
Taking the ‘Multimodal Turn’ in Interpreting Consumption Experiences
Chapter Three ............................................................................................ 84
Mapping Cultural Consumer Engagement in User-Generated Advertising
Chapter Four ............................................................................................ 135
Consuming Thanghood: Dancing to Brand Image with Miley Cyrus
Consuming Oneself and Others
Chapter Five ............................................................................................ 194
Consuming the Limit: Furious Pete and the Re-Evaluation of All Values
Chapter Six .............................................................................................. 219
Consuming Antinatalism in Social Media
Consuming the Impossible
Chapter Seven .......................................................................................... 264
Consuming the Beauty Ideal: A Critical Argumentation Approach
to Skin-Care Advertising
Table of Contents
Chapter Eight ........................................................................................... 306
Consumed by the Real: On Abjective Consumption and its Freaky
Index ........................................................................................................ 344
Fig.3.1. The cline of instantiation .............................................................. 94
Fig.3.2. The cline of instantiation adapted to UGA discourse ................... 94
Fig.3.3. Cline of instantiation on the planes of expression and content ..... 96
Fig.3.4. Steps in the grounded theoretical procedure ............................... 104
Fig.3.5. Example of the contents of the cline of instantiation ................ 105
Fig.3.6. Distribution (%) of actor types in the UGA corpus .................... 112
Fig.3.7. Distribution (%) of settings in the UGA corpus ......................... 112
Fig.3.8. Axial coding of the UGA corpus against the conventionality/
counterfactuality dimensions ..................................................... 114
Fig.3.9. Distribution (%) of genres in the UGA corpus ........................... 116
Fig.3.10. Distribution (%) of cultural domains in the UGA corpus ......... 117
Fig.3.11. MCA output (input variables: discursive order, discursive
type and genre) .......................................................................... 120
Fig.4.1. Segmentation of Miley Cyrus’s video-clip with atlas.ti ............. 148
Fig.4.2. List with the individual filmic segments of ‘Do my thang’
(atlas.ti output) .......................................................................... 150
Fig.4.3. Atlas.ti network view from a single segment comprising semiotic
resources, codes, modes and interactions between modes ......... 152
Fig.4.4. Step-by-step process for renaming (editing) logical relations
on an intra-segment level: Step 1 ............................................... 153
Fig.4.5. Step-by-step process for renaming (editing) logical relations
on an intra-segment level: Step 2 ............................................... 154
Fig.4.6. Step-by-step process for renaming (editing) logical relations
on an intra-segment level: Step 3 ............................................... 155
Fig.6.1. The atlas.ti workbench ............................................................... 231
Fig.6.2. Coding procedure ....................................................................... 233
Fig.6.3. Coding scheme ........................................................................... 235
Fig.6.4. Memos by primary documents ................................................... 237
Fig.6.5. Categorizing individual codes under code families .................... 238
Fig.6.6. Codes co-occurrence table I ....................................................... 240
Fig.6.7. Codes co-occurrence table II ...................................................... 241
Fig.6.8. Atlas.ti quantitative output: Codes’ frequency distribution .......... 242
Table 3.1. Analysis and synthesis methods employed in this study ........ 102
Table 3.2. Transgression as dominant representation of the brand’s
discourse ................................................................................ 121
Table 4.1. Multimodal analysis grid for extrapolating the latent brand
image of ‘Do my thang’ ......................................................... 157
Table 4.2. Coding scheme of the ‘Do my thang’ live video .................... 172
Table 5.1. Furious Pete’s world tour destinations ................................... 201
Table 6.1. The main arguments of antinatalism ....................................... 225
Table 6.2. Discourse strategies employed by the Facebook antinatalist
group members in their posts and comments ......................... 245
Table 7.1. The dominant syllogistic structure of the anti-ageing ad
corpus .................................................................................... 277
Table 7.2. Revlon’s age defying argumentation from values structure ... 280
Table 8.1. The corpus of “Freaky Eaters” and “My Strange Addiction”
episodes employed in this study ............................................ 325
Table 8.2. Abjective consumption cases .................................................. 332
Table 8.3. The discursive complexes and the respective Lacanian Orders
whereby abjective consumption is framed by different social
groups .................................................................................... 335
The marketing theoretical landscape of the 21st C. is marked by
unparalleled fragmentation, cross-disciplinary fermentation and the transpiring
of culturally oriented consumer research as multiple interpretive avenues.
Within this landscape, cultural phenomena are directly impacted by
aspects of consumption (Featherstone, 2007), and vice versa, consumptive
phenomena are approached as inextricably linked with integral aspects of
cultural theorizing.
This book has been edified on the fundamental premise that consumptive
reality is first and foremost situated in a cultural milieu and that this milieu
is essentially interdiscursive. The cultural turn in consumer research that
has been thriving over the past thirty years is a mere attestation to a
suppressed presupposition by positivistically inclined, ego-centric
research: cultural context lies at the heart of consumption related inquiry
and may account for the similarities in individual consumption related
response, immersion, evaluation patterns. Consumers are not hard-wired in
their ‘brains’ to perceive of cultural reality in similar ways, but similarities
in elicited perceptions resound more or less uniform habituses as aspects-
of-seeing, perception and evaluation dispositions that are proportionate to
common enculturation patterns. These quasi-deterministic habituses as
structured structuring structures, in Bourdieu’s words, are far from being
identical to an objective Lifeworld that turned out to be Husserlian ego-
centric phenomenology’s thorniest point, as well as an insurmountable
quandary in Schutz’s social phenomenological turn that inherited
Husserl’s ego-centric vantage point (Rossolatos, 2017b). Ego-centric or
psychologist perspectives have also spawned sci-fi metaphors such as the
‘talking heads’ hypothesis in lieu of scientific explanations. But, more
Chapter One
aptly, the former was smoothly superseded by Heideggerian social
ontology that posited ‘everyday practices’ at the heart of inquiry into the
question of Being, as a nexus of modes-of-Being whereby individuals (Da-
seins or social actors who are ‘there’) comport themselves in relationship
to their potentiality horizon. This nexus as a hyper-space of social
practices was also evoked by Schatzki (2002) while taking the so-called
praxiological turn that has garnered a sizeable trail of empirical applications.
In fact, if I were requested to identify the second dominant trend in
cultural and by implication in cultural consumer research, this would bear
the catch-all phrase ‘inter-everything’. More concretely, I am referring to
the Big Four perspectives of multimodality (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001)
or intermodality, also comprising the term intersemiosis (Liu &
O’Halloran 2009), as well as the Barthesian antecedent of synaesthesia,
interdiscursivity (Bhatia, 2010, 2014), transmediality (or intermediality;
Jenkins, 2006; Kurtz et al., 2016; or remediation; Prior & Hengst, 2010)
and intertextuality (Kristeva, 1980; Plett, 1991; Allen, 2000; van Zoonen,
In the following pages I turn backwards by ‘bracketing’ the praxiological
turn, while treating its key tenets as fragments of a slowly transitioning
kaleidoscopic movement, rather than as a rupture with preceding theories
of cultural practices, such as those offered by Foucault and Bourdieu. The
main objective is to offer an outline of interdiscursivity as an integrative
platform that may accommodate the Big 4 under its auspices.
The propounded integrative approach to interdiscursivity calls for a
return to Foucault. This return is historically situated in a terrain where
praxiologists are increasingly challenging Foucault’s discursivity in favor
of a paradigmatic shift that views the sociocultural domain as a nexus of
self-subsistent social practices where meaning has been reduced to a fuzzy
‘element’ of practices. However, as will be thoroughly argued in the
ensuing sections, approaching cultural consumer phenomena, analyzing,
interpreting them, but also, on the reverse, facilitating culturally informed
marketing planning entails effectively dimensionalizing the cultural
context that shelters consumption practices. In this respect, the trumpeted
post-cultural turn that was taken with the encroachment of praxiology will
be critically scrutinized. This task becomes even more compelling once we
take into consideration the rising importance of the experiential economy,
coupled with an enhanced emphasis on immersive cultural consumer
experiences and engaging sociocultural practices (see chapter 2).
Immersion and engagement perhaps constitute the mantra of contemporary
marketing applications (on, off, through-the-line and across the hyperreal
pathways of contemporary urban geographies). At the same time,
Inter-Everything 3
immersion and engagement, from a culturological point of view, are beset
by increasing complexity as differentiating relevance becomes the
overarching targeting criterion, rather than sedimented silos that cling onto
constructs such as demographics, psychographics, and immutable
personality traits. Consumers nowadays are more receptive and prone to
adapt quickly to new competitive offers, leisure activities and malleable
axiologies in the context of what Bauman (2007) identified as ‘liquid
modernity’. Liquid modernity in Bauman’s sociological hermeneutics not
only reflects a ubiquitous crisis of meaning, but also a permeating
readiness to adapt and to shift perspectives in the face of a faster than ever
before moving consumptive terrain. This is facilitated by enhanced
consumer empowerment and by the elevation of co-creative instances to a
background expectancy on behalf of marketers and consumers alike. The
greater share of control about the meaning of consumption phenomena is
allotted to the final consumer, the more the complexity of managing brand
meaning in-house intensifies. Of course, the extent to which this cultural
predicament may be accommodated under a descriptor that conveys
vestiges of modernity, rather than (still) being symptomatic of a
postmodern ethos that allegedly displays a penchant for the ephemeral, but
also whether pre-modernist consumer tribal formations co-exist with both
modernist and post-modernist ethotic patterns, constitute broader topics
that are regularly addressed in the extant literature.
Again, this enhanced complexity of the meaning of consumptive
phenomena may be invoked as a suitable occasion for rendering the call
for a comprehensive account of the upsurge and incessantly mounting
importance of interdiscursivity’s derivatives even more compelling. Why
all this fuss, buzz and interminable inquisition of aspects that have been
indubitably impacting all along (while remaining unaddressed) decision
making, purchasing and consuming, and above all, why now?
As I hope you will come to appreciate as the argumentation unfolds, in
order to effectively leverage the Big 4 we must first gain an understanding
of interdiscursivity, and how it may function as an integrative framework
wherein these derivatives may be accommodated, if not strictly
hierarchically, at least as modes-of-interdiscursivity (pace Heidegger
[2001], albeit desublimated from any appeals to a univocal ground of
Being). In order to get ‘there’, that is on the way to effecting a synthesis of
‘inter-’ derivatives under the rubric of interdiscursivity, the following path
has been carved: The scope of cultural consumer research as field of
inquiry is delimited at the outset of the argumentative journey in order to
nurture a common expectancy as to what phenomena and sociocultural
practices are included in this allegedly polysemous term. This outline is
Chapter One
succeeded by a preliminary discussion of what is posited here as the
inherent interdiscursivity of consumer culture. In order to appreciate the
thesis for an all-encompassing interdiscursivity (with regard to the Big 4)
and why it is posited as a fundamental condition of consumer culture,
Foucault’s original theory of discursive formations is laid out,
complemented by a short description of the four methodological routes of
discursive inquiry that derive from different evolutionary stages in
Foucault’s thinking. Subsequently, the ways whereby Foucauldian
discursivity has been appropriated by key authors in the discourse analytic
stream are discussed, aiming at identifying potential discrepancies and
dissonances, both with regard to Foucault, as well as intra-perspectivally.
The discussion’s focus then turns towards the praxiological perspective
with which I engage critically in favor of interdiscursivity. Finally, the
proposed conceptualization of interdiscursivity is laid out and its benefits
discussed for cultural consumer research and marketing practice alike.
Delimiting cultural consumer research
Since there is hardly any agreement on the meaning of consumption,
let alone culture, delimiting the definitional scope of these terms is a
prerequisite. In this book, I adopt a pan-consumptivist standpoint, meaning
that any social act involving one or more products, services, spectacles,
ideologies, experiences, practices may be said to constitute a consumptive
act. “Raymond Williams (1976, 68) points out [that] one of the earliest
uses of the term consume meant ‘to destroy, to use up, to waste, to
exhaust’” (in Featherstone, 2007, p.21). This definition is further
elaborated in chapter 5 that explores acts of modern-day cannibalism.
In the meantime, let us elucidate how this etymological detour may be
of use in culturally inclined consumer research. As analyzed by Williams
(1983) one of the most primordial meanings of culture consists in
cultivation, namely of brute emotions and crude thoughts. As a process,
culture consists of what Elias called civilizing processes whereby instincts
and emotions are articulated into determinate forms. Cultural forms consist
of popular arts such as music, cinema, theater, literature which have come
to dominate the meaning of culture in lay terms. Nowadays, culture has
become synonymous with a culture industry (Horkheimer & Adorno,
1972) that offers artefacts (e.g. DVDs) that package art forms (e.g.
cinema) in distinctive modes (e.g. audiovisual), distributed through
various media (e.g. online shops), as well as directly consumable
spectacles (e.g. live-shows) and experiences (e.g. engagement in an online
Inter-Everything 5
cultural community) that are consumed either in situ or virtually (e.g. on
Culture has become intimately imbricated with consumption in a post-
post-modernist milieu where consumer identity is mediated by and
inscribed in the artefacts, experiences, spectacles, practices offered and
enabled by a culture industry consisting of interlocking networks of
mediators of cultural production. “Consumption serves as an organizing
practice of and in culture. Interrogating the nature and forms of
consumption is thus inseparable from cultural analysis” (Cook, 2005,
p.162). The meaning of cultural practices that is adopted here encompasses
both the production and consumption sides of culture, any co-creative
facets in-between, but also instances where end-consumers operate as
cultural intermediaries (e.g. during a Tupperware demonstration- the case
of cooking with Bimby [Truninger, 2011] or as an Avon peer-to-peer
seller or as a cultural ambassador for an alcoholic drink brand).
Needless to say, but for the sake of dispelling any suspicion about the
contrary, no distinction is endorsed here between a presumed high-brow
culture and a low-brow one or between the concept of civilization as
conveyor of ‘humanity’s great ideals’ and popular culture, as an ephemeral
hub of inauthentic expressivity. It should be clarified, however, that this
reflects a culturological posture and not the ubiquitous leveraging of
cultural idioms, trends and forms by social groups as rules-of-etiquette and
marks of distinction, as eloquently shown by Bourdieu (1984).
Contemporary forms such as prosumerism (Kotler, 1986), that is end-
consumers whose mastery of means of cultural production is almost as
professional as that of the employees of the production side of the culture
industry, facilitated by the ubiquitous availability of audiovisual data
editing tools (e.g. Vimeo video-making, Instagram photo editing tools),
have partially blurred the aforementioned time-hallowed divide. It should
also be highlighted that I endorse the thesis for the relative autonomy of
culture, especially as concerns the non-identification of culture with
national cultures, as well as the appropriation of cultural logics by political
ideologies and regimes (Rorty, 2007). The latter impacts directly on the
way I am approaching here Foucault’s discourse theory, that is strictly
from a cultural analytic point of view and specifically with an intent on
applying it in cultural consumer research, regardless of whether, according
to Rorty, Foucault has been identified with the New American Left
(Malecki, 2011). By the same token, although Lyotard was indubitably
supported and perhaps thrived within a left-oriented political environment,
his Postmodern Condition fuelled the imaginary of generations of media
owners and producers who may hardly be identified with any leftist
Chapter One
inclinations. The ways whereby philosophers’ and other social scientists’
intellectual output have been and most likely will continue to be
appropriated by political ideologies are well known and include seminal
figures such as Hegel and Heidegger, often with disregard to the truth of
the matter.
As regards disciplinary frameworks, consumer culture has been
approached conceptually and methodologically through multiple perspectival
lenses, most importantly via cultural studies, cultural sociology, cultural
anthropology, discourse analysis, semiotics, rhetoric, psychoanalysis, but
also from within the marketing discipline in the context of what has
become more or less entrenched as cultural consumer theory (CCT;
Arnould & Thompson, 2005; Levy, 2015). Despite appearances, these
disciplinary frameworks do not follow parallel paths in their
developmental trajectories, but are characterized by resourceful cross-
fertilizations. This polyvocal fermentation is reflected in the bespoke
research designs that are adopted in the studies that appear in the chapters
of this book.
In social ontological terms, an act of consumption points to the
consummation of its goal or its annihilation. This is akin to the
metaphorical investment of orgasm in French as ‘small death’ (petit mort)
that has been an all-time favorite in psychoanalytic theorizing. The ‘petit’-
ness [sic] of such annihilation acts also lets shine forth, by comparison, a
lurking ‘greatness’ that is attributable to death as such. It is the
insatiability of consumptive desire as death-bound process of constant
rekindling (Belk, 2004) in a libidinal semiotic economy that allows for
tingeing these small acts with the dazzling whiteness of a moratorium’s
internal decoration. Death is employed here in an ontological sense as
one’s ownmost potentiality-for-Being (cf. chapter 7), rather than as a
biological phenomenon. This ‘great’ exchangeability system also enables
us to appreciate why Baudrillard identified death as the whatness lurking
beneath every act of symbolic exchange, as the indeterminacy conditioning all
products and determinate consumptive acts (Baudrillard, 2002). In other
words, for as long as one is, he is bound to consume (even where no
monetary exchange is involved). This definitional facet also sensitizes us
to aspects of consumption that are systematically obliterated in myopic
accounts that assume a more intuitive approach in the exploration of
consumption as purchase and/or use.
From a more mundanely expansive, ontical point of view, consumption
may be viewed as a spectrum of acts spanning purchase, use, exchange,
maintenance, repair, and disposal (Campbell, 2005), involving not just
products and services, but also spectacles, experiences, practices, ideologies,
Inter-Everything 7
in short anything that constitutes the outcome of cultural production and
can become the ‘object’ for the aforementioned actions. This expansive
definition constitutes a mainstay in contemporary cultural consumer
research, as well as among sociologically inclined researchers who adopt
an equally pan-consumptivist outlook (e.g. Campbell, 2005). This
definitional avenue also suggests that cultural consumption is not
equivalent to market-place consumption. Yet, cultural consumption at
large is directly relevant and exerts a major impact on market-place
consumption. For example, the consumption of an ideology or a belief
system (as will be shown in greater detail in chapter 6) poses intangible,
yet tactile (as regards its pragmatic effects) constraints on the permissible
scope of consumable products and services. From a cultural consumption
research point of view, this is self-explanatory insofar as culture concerns
fundamentally the ascription of meaning to amorphous matter and/or
indiscriminate states-of-affairs. To enculturate an object, a person or a
state-of-affairs entails some sort of discursive domestication according to a
belief system or its moulding according to a set of more or less stable
ideas, beliefs, judgments. Culture is all about meaning and how different
contexts afford to reassign meaning to the same objects (although this
hermeneutically inclined presumption of ‘sameness’ is ontologically
contestable as will be discussed in a while).
In a nutshell, cultural context not only influences how consumptive
acts are interpreted or semanticized in a sociocultural milieu involving
situated social actors who share the same linguistic (among other modes)
means for expressing meaning (also including the possibility of private
languages in markets of one- or brand idiolects at their most undercoded),
but is responsible for enveloping social situations within a nexus of inter-
locking sociocultural practices. “Consumer culture, then, does not refer to
constellations of meaning emerging exclusively from the retail sector or
which are evident only at the point of transaction. It is not only about those
meanings produced by the producers of goods or by advertisers; yet, it
cannot be disentangled from them” (Cook, 2005, p.162).
Elaborating further on the meaning of consumer culture and
consumption as culture we may identify the following territories: (i)
culture as consumable ‘objects’, that is as artefacts, spectacles, leisure
activities, art, places; (ii) culture as consumable ‘ideas’, that is as symbols,
semi-symbols, imaginary signifiers and transcendental signifieds (e.g.
consuming a political ideology or a religious belief system); (iii)
consumption as cultural ‘structures and processes’, involving modes of
organization (e.g. brand communities), interaction and communicative
codes among social actors (e.g. in new social movements, in gift-giving
Chapter One
occasions, in ritualized activities such as a loyal fandom’s bonding rituals;
cf. Collins, 2004; Otnes & Lowrey, 2004; Giesler, 2006). Sociocultural
practices and experiences may involve one or all of the above territories
which are elaborated through illustrative empirical studies in this book.
Consumer culture as interdiscursive phenomenon
A key tenet of the propounded interdiscursivity perspective is that
consumer culture may not be studied outside of a discursive framework as
‘brute facts’ or as extra-discursive referents. “Discourse does not reflect
extrinsic conditions, but rather produces them: discourse relates elements,
concepts, and makes it possible for certain non-discursive elements to
constitute themselves as objects” (Rojo & Pujol, 2011, p.90). These
heterogeneous elements coalesce under determinate constellations as
discursive formations, a fundamental epistemological concept that was
coined by Foucault and of central value in his archeological system.
“Discursive formations are groups of statements [my note: among other
minimal units inscribed in multiple modes and circulating in various
media] linked at the level of statements themselves, and by virtue of these
links it becomes possible to define rules for the formation of their objects,
their modes of enunciation and subject positions, their associated domains,
forms of succession and simultaneity, the way they are institutionalised,
used and combined together, and finally the way that they become
instruments for desire or interest, and elements for a strategy” (Webb,
2013, p.104). “The correlate of the statement is a group of domains in
which objects may appear and to which relations may be assigned”
(Foucault, 2004, p.102). Discursive formations, thus, constitute
amalgamations or clustered assemblages that do not partake of a strict
structuralist rationale of units and levels. For example, a discursive
formation may feature relationships between discursive orders at a high
level of schematic abstraction (e.g. sports and cooking) or between one
discursive order (e.g. sports) and two discursive types (e.g. football and
cricket). The incidence of a TV show that features footage from a football
game and a cooking lesson on how to prepare a Christmas turkey
establishes an interdiscursive relationship between two discursive orders
(sports and cooking), as a syntagmatic arrangement in the course of the
same TV show which also affords to compound the interdiscursive cluster
as a discursive type that partakes of the discursive order of entertainment.
The relative stability (and hence recognizability on behalf of
consumers) of discursive orders, types and interdiscursive relationships is
incumbent on cultural groups’ (operative in a cultural field) relative power
Inter-Everything 9
in determining their formations as dominant over sub-altern ones. The
meaning of the respective orders and types does not inhere in the cultural
practices, but in the discursive formations that are performed and
promulgated by cultural groups involving networks of mediators of
cultural production. A cultural system consists by definition of
interdiscursive relationships between high-abstraction orders and more
determinate types at its apex, themselves presided by meta-discursive
formations that permeate the majority of cultural orders, such as the myth
of subjectivity as substratum of experiences, the grammatical system of a
natural language, the co-operation maxim and the politeness principle (or
equivalent cultural forms as civilizing processes and structures). The pan-
consumptivist outlook to culture inherits this fundamental presupposition
concerning the inherently interdiscursive composition of a cultural system.
Interdiscursivity has been multifariously defined and operationalized in
discrete disciplinary settings, such as literary studies and CDA (cf. Wu,
2011). Interdiscursivity is not a dimension of discourse, but the very
foundation for making sense of consumer culture as a web of interlocking
discursive formations. This standpoint implies that the incidence of ‘inter-’
is indicative of some sort of generative force that animates and permeates
a cultural system. Indeed, if not validly arguable in such mythopoetic
terms, it will be shown that the vantage point for construing accounts of
cultural consumer phenomena is coeval with illustrating how
interdiscursivity may constitute an integrative framework for drilling down
from abstract cultural orders to more fine-grained analyses along the lines
of intertextuality, multi(inter)modality and trans(inter)mediality. The
relational logic of interdiscursivity as constitutive of the sociocultural has
been endorsed by discourse analysts. Fairclough (2003, p.26), for example,
views social practices as always networked and shifting. Fairclough &
Chouliaraki (1999), but also praxiologists, approach social practices as
always already embedded in a nexus, as will be shown in a more elaborate
fashion in due course. “Applying a relational logic to a social practice
means showing how it is embedded in networks of practices whose
relative stabilization underpins the relative stability and permanence of the
practice itself as a set of options for selection and combination”
(Fairclough & Chouliaraki, 1999, p.32).
The Foucauldian origins of discourse
Providing a uniform definition of discourse spanning the different
phases of Foucault’s thinking is untenable for the sheer reason that the
term has been employed in multifarious ways, not only by Foucault, but
Chapter One
also by discourse analysis scholars (cf. Wodak, 2008). Discourse as an
omnibus term affords greater confusion than clarity, precisely due to its
over-generic and all-encompassing pedigree. On the one hand, as
repeatedly cautioned in the secondary literature (e.g. Bruns, 2005),
discourse should by no means be conceived as being identical to language
or speech. In fact, occasionally and across disciplines discourse has been
employed in the Saussurean sense as being equivalent to oral speech
(parole), in contradistinction to text which has been used as a proxy for
written speech. The former is considerably underdetermining with regard
to Foucault’s (2004) employment whose conceptualization in the
Archeology of Knowledge encompassed objects, events, institutions,
practices. The latter has been cogently expanded to include any cultural
phenomenon that may be described as a text, including social practices as
social texts that we always read from the inside and which encompass us,
as pithily put by Lefebvre (2002). “‘Text’ can mean any form of
signication: writings, photographs, movies, newspapers and magazines,
advertisements and commercials; all in all, every kind of human
signication practice” (Lehtonen, 2000, p.57). Nowadays, the restricted
notion of text circulates far less broadly as common currency, although its
differences from discourse remain to be elucidated, as will be undertaken
in due course.
There is good reason why Foucault accommodated such a diverse
roster of sociocultural phenomena under the same umbrella, namely that
discourse functions primarily on an ontogenetic/ontological level. In the
same manner that for Derrida nothing exists outside of the text, for
Foucault nothing may be credited with existence outside of discursive
formations (cf. Boyne, 1990). Discourse, for Foucault, is an active
occurring/event (Hook, 2001). A crucial difference between text and
discourse, in this respect, consists in the latter’s comprising the rituals
whereby orders of discourse are maintained, e.g. rituals of punishment in
disciplinary discourse (Foucault, 1979). Although a text may feature
instructions as to how forms of punishment are to be enacted, it does not
include the actual practice of punishment.
For Foucault, discourse is ontogenetically related not simply to the
textual inscription of practices, but to their very formation as such. This is
far from naïve nominalism, an antiquated descriptor that has been ascribed
to Foucauldian discursivity in lieu of a critique, save for a quite intuitive
conceptualization suggesting that although the multimodal signs making
up a disciplinary practice indubitably possess materiality and a corporeal
dimension, yet their meaning resides in the discursive order which
arranges their deployment and their modes of relatedness in a specific
Inter-Everything 11
manner. Thus, the discursive order of punishment does not ‘refer’ to signs
of punishment, but the signs are assigned to the discursive order by dint of
being included within its contours. This is why Archeology as method (and
its evolution later into the genealogical method) does not suggest that the
truth of a discourse may be progressively excavated hermeneutically as a
semantic kernel that is more or less proximally situated with regard to
multiple readings, but that each archeological reading in fact spawns a new
discursive formation. This constitutes Foucault’s irreducible perspectivism,
as bequeathed from Nietzsche, according to which “discourse analysis
cannot be taken to reveal a ‘truth’ within the text” (Hook, 2001, p.539).
The same may be said of social practices, depending on the frame of
reference that is posited for gauging the order of which they partake.
Running ahead of the argumentation, but for the sake of glimpsing into the
radical counter-implications of Foucault’s thesis for the ‘practice turn’, let
us consider the example of a TV show. For the spectators, watching a TV
show is part of leisure activities and, hence, a discursive type of the
discursive order of entertainment. However, for the show’s employees it is
just business as usual and, hence, a discursive type of the discursive order
of work. Therefore, it becomes apparent that the signs making up a TV
show do not make up by themselves the show as such. It is the imposition
of order on the concatenation of signs that allows them to exist as an
identifiable totality (even if only provisionally so, that is until a new
archeological endeavor brings to the surface or interweaves more and
perhaps different signs with the existing ones in the same order, thus
expanding or constraining its boundaries or redefining it altogether).
Subsequently, a discourse is productive of a social practice, and not just a
series of statements. In this respect, Foucault’s discourse theory partakes
of the broader perspective of social constructivism.
The ambivalence, however, of discursive orders with regard to their
semantic or praxiological scope that was noted earlier and more
specifically the occasional conflation of discourse with parole is not fully
attributable to scholarly readings, but to Foucault’s own demonstration and
application of his discursivity theory in the Archeology by recourse to
‘statements’. This bifurcation has been bequeathed to Fairclough’s
discourse analytic strand, as well as Scollon’s (2001) mediated discourse
analysis. Although Fairclough (1992) in his introductory outline of
discourse analysis does include texts and institutions, later (Fairclough,
2003) he provides a statement-oriented definition of discourse. In a similar
fashion, Scollon (2001, p.5) contends that “practices are linked to other
practices, discursive and non-discursive, over time to form a nexus of
practice”, and even more explicitly “it seems that language – discursive
Chapter One
practice – enters the habitus as a meditational means…” (Scollon, 2001,
p.137), thus confining discursivity within the province of utterances.
Foucault (2004) did draw on the ‘statement’ as the minimal unit of
discourse and identified a discursive formation with the regularity of
statements’ dispersal in a scrutinized corpus (archive). However, his
insistence on the linguistic register (as against other modes) is not
indicative of a latent intentionality at constraining discursivity within the
confines of the linguistic, and demonstrably so since he explicitly refers to
institutions and social practices in the Archeology.
A discourse formation includes the actual practices whereby knowledge
is produced and the institutions that facilitate or hinder this production
across domains and is not simply the province of linguistic analysis, but
also of rules and strategies. This involves strategies of negotiation among
situated social actors and the power play that deploys in interactional
settings, as well as broader institutional forms that pose constraints on the
output of interactive micro-processes (which have been posited at the very
kernel of the production of the social by Collins [2004] in his
microsociological perspective of social interaction chains). Scollon seeks
to anchor the priority of social practices (as extra-discursive referents)
over discourse by drawing partially on a specific phase of practice
formation, that of emergence, as against crystallized, over-coded and
largely repetitive practices. However, this partial focus on the degree of
typification of a discursive formation says little about dominant discourses
that are prescriptive and whose identity depends on immutable repetition
(or with slight variations) across settings.
Discourse formation, thus, is a practical concept that concerns both
macro, as well as the meso-level and micro-social processes. Its pragmatic
correlate, as conversation analysis, is capable of unearthing latent
assumptions and relationships among interlocutors in situated discourse
production, however this undertaking is not symmetrical to the scope of
discourse formation as originally envisaged by Foucault. This all-
encompassing orientation of discursivity in its original Foucauldian
conceptualization has been bequeathed to Fairclough’s discourse analytic
approach, albeit with some deviations from fundamental tenets which will
be pointed out in the following sections. As regards micro-processes, a
discourse involves the textual and other cultural artefacts (that may be
analysed textually in any case, e.g. films, paintings, memes etc.) that make
up a discursive domain, inasmuch as what texts and why have been
excluded from that domain. Inquiry into the former is part of Foucault’s
archeological method of knowledge production. Inquiry into the latter is
part of the genealogical method. Additionally, since knowledge production
Inter-Everything 13
usually takes place within groups, mapping out the process whereby
agreement is reached on what constitutes a valid text within a discourse
domain is key. Again, this involves marshalling both archeological and
genealogical methods. As regards macro-processes, focal points concern
the institutional forms that constrain the delimitation of specific
discourses, as well as enable their formation (but also potentially their
resemantization and reappropriation, e.g. of a cultural text by a dominant
state ideology). In short, discourse formation does not concern merely the
grammatical aspects whereby a discourse is produced as a set of
statements or utterances, but the entire chain of practical considerations
that begin with the situated interaction of social actors up to the constraints
posed by institutional mechanisms.
The argumentation that deploys in the Archeology against the
background of ‘statements’ as minimal analytical units is symptomatic of
Foucault’s expressed aim at effecting a post-semiotic turn with his theory
of discursivity. The extent to which this task was actually nailed by
Foucault with the Archeology is highly debatable, especially in the light of
the post-Saussurean strides that had been accomplished by the then newly
founded semiotic discipline, most importantly on behalf of Foucault’s
contemporaries, and especially the Greimasian school. Although tackling
this issue at great length by far eschews the purview of this chapter, suffice
to point out that a key semiotic principle from which Foucault actively
sought to deviate was that of a linguistic system (Saussure’s langue). “The
statement is not therefore a structure […] it is a function of existence;
although it enables them to exist, it does so in a special way — a way that
must not be confused with the existence of signs as elements of a langue
(Foucault, 2004, pp.97-99; my italics).” Of course, assuming Saussurean
semiology at the time the Archeology was composed as the master-text for
effecting a ‘turn’ did not quite pay heed to the actual advances
accomplished by semioticians who had already severed the ties with
fundamental Saussurean principles. This is further compounded by
Foucault’s anti-scholarly posture, evinced as a scarce engagement with
specific passages from Saussure’s (1959) Cours.
All in all, Foucault’s central thesis was incumbent on abjuring the
possibility of an a priori systemic conceptualization of language, in the
vein of Saussure’s langue, as a latent synchronically arranged linguistic
system which was bequeathed (albeit not in such a holistic fashion) to the
Barthesian (1968) notion of sign-system(s). At the same time, Foucault’s
discursivity differs markedly from Barthesian semiotics and its Saussurean
heritage while focusing on higher order rules of discursive formation,
rather than relata among signs. Foucault’s (2004, p.54) discourse analytic
Chapter One
approach “consists of not — of no longer — treating discourses as groups
of signs (signifying elements referring to contents or representations) but
as practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak. Of
course, discourses are composed of signs; but what they do is more than
use these signs to designate things.”
Discursive practices do not represent social practices, but construe
them as arrangements of multimodal elements in more or less orderly
manners. A social practice is indistinguishable from the discursive
formation that encapsulates it. For Foucault, discursive formations do not
represent social affairs and situations that condition them ontologically,
but are responsible for their presencing as such. This standpoint runs
counter to van Leeuwen’s (2008) assertion that discourse represents social
practices. Alternative discursive formations constitute new forms of
presencing which lays claim to the inherently ontogenetic and semiogenetic
function performed by Foucault’s theory of discursivity.
The notion of order of discourse (Foucault, 1973) effected a radical
break with the possibility of approaching language as ideational totality of
statements. Instead, a discursive formation as enunciative field constrains
temporarily the statements that are included under its auspices, on the
grounds of the possibility of even a completely different re-ordering that
might afford to confer a wholly new meaning in the context of another
formation. As remarked by Maniglier (2013, p.108) “the very notion of
Order as immanent implies that […] the whole network is folded onto
itself and represented within itself. In other words, an ordered system of
things represents itself by generating within itself an ordered system of
representations.” This passage affords to frame the aforementioned break
with (early) structualist semiology quite succinctly, namely that language
does not underpin parole as ideational totality, but that such a systemic
representation is feasible as the effect of discourse’s internal mirroring. As
will be argued later, this is a critical aspect of interdiscursivity that
eschewed the rather ‘sudden’ praxiological turn.
Foucault’s discourse theory, though, not only entails an infinite
immanentist drift (rather than epistemological shift) as regards the
constitution of objects and states-of-affairs, but marks a radical break with
the Cartesian ego-centric heritage that still underpins psychologically and
behaviorally inclined consumer research. A discursive formation is not a
linguistic construal effected by a knowing subject in its attempt to
articulate stimuli received from the external environment (or from a
domain ‘within’), but subjectivity as such is a discursive formation as the
positing of an ideational substratum beneath what is portrayed discursively
as a synthetic act. The subject is constituted as such through the processes
Inter-Everything 15
of subjection and subjectivation. “Subjection means that an individual or
collective is proclaimed subject within a specific discourse […]
subjectivation when the individual or collective has not only been made
the subject but also wishes to be so” (Andersen, 2003, p.24; italics in the
original). This constructivist outlook to subject formation as discursive
formation that has been bequeathed to both performativity theory and
discourse analysis rests, largely, on two levels: the empirical self or the
‘me’ (the self who conducts synthetic acts of stimuli) and the
transcendental self or the ‘I’ (the self to whom memories and experiences
may be attributed as omnipresent throughout ad hoc synthetic instances).
This grosso modo transcendental idealist definition of selfhood (or
consciousness, more aptly) has been elaborated and redefined in many
ways throughout the history of philosophy, as well as in various strands of
psychology. What is of paramount importance, though, with regard to
Foucault’s approach, is that neither the empirical nor the transcendental
subject subsist and underpin experiences as ‘entities’, but as the progeny
of an order of discourse, the subjection to which allows for the
establishment of consumers as processing monads. Texts that reify
selfhood are regularly tagged in discourse analysis as essentializing or
naturalized discourse. Recently, from a praxiological point of view,
subjectivation was defined “as a process inherently embedded in praxis, in
which the ability intelligently to orient one’s action towards practice-
specific requirements is continually being formed and in which the process
of doing can also entail the critique and transcendence of these
requirements” (Alkemeyer & Buschmann, 2017). The implications of this
standpoint are pivotal for cultural consumer research as it affords to
dislodge the subject as data-processing centre (the AI metaphor) while
embedding it in constitutive terms in a broader cultural terrain that
conditions it both discursively (as regards specific orders of discourse, e.g.
cultural institutions and cultural products), as well as meta-discursively,
that is as subject simpliciter.
The methodological toolbox of Foucauldian discourse
As shown earlier, for Foucault discourse is first and foremost
ontogenetic with regard to the sociocultural domain and its sub-domains. It
is a generative principle for knowing and engaging with sociocultural
practices as discursive practices. Four principal methods of inquiry
pertaining to discursivity have been identified throughout Foucault’s
Chapter One
oeuvre, namely archeological discourse analysis, genealogy, technologies
of self, and dispositif analysis (Andersen, 2003).
Archeologically tracing the emergence of a discursive formation
involves three main operations (Foucault, 2004, pp.45-46): mapping the
surface of emergence, describing the authorities of delimitation and
analysing the grids of specification. In greater detail, mapping the surface
of emergence comprises the modes of rationalization, the conceptual
codes, and the types of theory whereby certain phenomena are objectified
as such. Describing the authorities of delimitation entails focusing on
institutions and their own rules, on groups of individuals constituting a
profession, and on authorities recognized by public opinion, the law, and
government. Analysing the grids of specification concerns the systems
according to which phenomena are divided, contrasted, related, regrouped,
classified, derived from one another as objects of discourse.
The archeological and genealogical methods are probably the most
well-known ones to cultural consumer researchers who have been engaged
with diachronic analyses of corpora, perhaps of less critical orientation.
Although partially overlapping, the qualifying difference lies in that the
former adopts a descriptive outlook towards a historical inventory
(archive, corpus) that has been recognized as relevant to a discursive
practice, whereas the latter seeks to unearth hidden and excluded voices
that were suppressed in the process of consolidating a discourse type.
“Moving beyond the archaeologist’s reconstruction of the conditions of
knowledge, appearance, and articulation of a particular historical
formation, the genealogist restages the hazardous play of dominations
through which a regime of power stabilizes itself” (Crano, 2011, p. 162).
Also pertinent for the purposes of an interdiscursive approach is the
dispositif analysis that seeks to create links between the elements of a
discursive apparatus (either in a synchronic or diachronic fashion). “The
apparatus is the ‘heterogeneous ensemble’: it is a system of elements
between which there exists a functional connection. The strategic imperative
or logic is a generalized schematic that brings about a particular logic”
(Andersen, 2003, p.27; also see Bussolini 2010; Thompson, 2017). In fact,
were it not for dispositif analysis, the axiomaticity of a power structure (its
symbolic violence, in Bourdieu’s [1977] terms) that lumps together a
discursive apparatus as a seemingly coherent ensemble would be inscrutable.
Insofar as the logic of a discursive apparatus is evinced as a
generalized schematic, it may hardly be said to be ‘rational’. Its rationale
is that of instrumental reason, albeit an instrumentality that does not
simply abide by pragmatic exigencies as might be postulated by a
praxiological perspective, but by the distribution of social roles in
Inter-Everything 17
discursive practices according to specific patterns of subjectivization. For
example, the statement ‘I feel quite energized today’ may be appropriated
quite differently by the discursive orders of work and leisure. In the
context of work, it may be concatenated with actions that culminate in an
over-productive working day. In the context of leisure, it may amount to
spending a day in the gym. Each order envelops the statement in
completely different ways, thus culminating in utterly discrepant social
actions as a result of different ways of subjectivization.
Chances are that experiencing such a mood-state of elevated vigor will
not translate automatically into a propensity for engaging meta-
discursively in a genealogical tracing of the options for satisfying it as a
result of subjectivization processes. This secondary self-reflexivity level
that seems to be lacking from the ‘practice turn’ marks an entire territory
for critical marketing studies pertaining to the cultural consumer research
prong that was identified earlier with the consumption of culture as
structures and processes, in the sense of unpacking a subject’s meta-
discursive habitual constraints. Similar constraints are noted in chapter 2
with regard to the fields of multimodal literacy and naturalistic
ethnographic inquiry.
The discourse analytic appropriations of Foucauldian
The popularization of discourse analysis as a method of textual inquiry
for meaningful patterns across disciplines is rooted in Foucauldian
discourse analysis. Here, an exposition of main areas where dominant
discourse analytic strands deviate from Foucauldianism is undertaken,
with a view to demonstrating later why and how the propounded
interdiscursivity approach is streamlined with the call for a return to
Although the purveyors of what became entrenched as critical
discourse analysis (e.g. Fairclough, 1992; van Leeuwen, 2007; Wodak,
2008), also including Halliday’s (1978) social semiotic perspective that is
regularly credited as one of the dominant discourse analytic strands (cf.
Rahimi & Javad Riasati, 2011), unanimously acknowledge the influence
exerted by Foucault’s theory of discursivity, it may hardly be entertained
that this was espoused to the letter. Rather, we are concerned with a
piecemeal appropriation during which some fundamental Foucauldian
tenets were either abandoned or transgressed.
Fairclough & Choulariaki (1999) who display a penchant for Marxist
structuralism (macro-level of social theorizing), retain in their tripartite
Chapter One
division of discourse the classical sociological distinction amongst levels
of social structures (micro-, meso-, macro-). According to Fairclough
(2003), macro-structures are highly abstract social structures (e.g.
language, class, kinship). Meso-structures bridge macro-structures with
micro-structures and consist of social practices (e.g. teaching,
management) and genres (e.g. of texts encountered at the micro-level).
Finally, micro-structures consist of events as instantiations of social
practices, both as regards situated social interaction and textual
inscriptions of social practices. This schema deviates from Foucauldian
discursivity while endorsing the relatively deterministic force exerted by
macro-structures on individual social actors by subscribing to the
internalization hypothesis. Quasi-agentic capacity is also ascribed to social
actors as extra-discursively constituted monads, thus deviating from the
subjectivization principle that is endemic in Foucault’s discourse theory.
Furthermore, at the meso-level, whereas Foucault explicitly views social
practices as being indistinguishable from discursive practices and in fact as
the former being construed through the latter, Fairclough (2003) retains an
ontological distinction between social and discursive practices which he
seeks to conjoin through the stratagem of co-constitution. Apparently in an
attempt to avoid criticisms about being either a nominalist or a realist,
Fairclough refrains from ascribing primacy to either of these ontologically
indistinct dimensions, while approaching them as being co-terminous: “the
apparently paradoxical fact that although the discourse element of a social
practice is not the same as for example its social relations, each in a sense
contains or internalizes the other” (Fairclough, 2003, p.25). Scollon (2001,
p.11) follows a similar route while viewing practices as containing a
discursive element “which is not just or merely a reflection upon practice
but to some extent constitutive of that practice”, although the extent of
discourse’s constitutive effect is not qualified. “Mediated discourse sees
social practice and discursive practice as mutually constitutive” (Scollon,
2001, p.160). Nevertheless, Foucault does not appear to be credited for
having been the first to raise this argument: “when Foucault maintains that
the description of a practice provides the key to the intelligibility of
subject and object, he implies that both are nothing other than its correlate,
and they are ontologically simultaneous and coextensive” (Djaballah,
2008, p.221).
In the light of Foucault’s interdiscursivity thesis, Fairclough (2003)
contends that social practices are always networked and that genres are
always ordered in genre chains. At this juncture, Fairclough adopts both a
narrow and an expansive definition of interdiscursivity. The former is
evinced as genre chains whereas the latter features orders of discourse,
Inter-Everything 19
styles, social actions (Fairclough, 2003, p.38). Interdiscursivity was
rehashed by Fairclough, by drawing on Harvey’s (1980) postmodernist
hybridity theory, and Bakhtin’s dialogical principle, according to which
texts are inherently dialogical.
Intertextuality occasionally appears to be employed interchangeably
with interdiscursivity in discourse analytic accounts, although their
operational level should be quite clear (at least as per Fairclough’s
stratification). For example, Wodak (2008, p.3; italics in the original; also
see Reisigl & Wodak, 2009) offers an almost tautological definition:
Intertextuality refers to the fact that all texts are linked to other texts, both
in the past and in the present […] Interdiscursivity, on the other hand,
indicates that discourses are linked to each other in various ways”, despite
distinguishing them more pithily later in the same text in terms of
discourse’s operating at a more abstract level compared to text whereas
text is a unique and specific realization of discourse. “Interdiscursivity is
more complicated because it is concerned with the implicit relations
between discursive formations rather than the explicit relations between
texts” (Wu, 2011, p.97).
Wodak (2008) appears to be deviating from Foucault’s original
conceptualization of discourse as discursive practice whereby social
practices come to be known as discursive formations, yet not being
reducible to the linguistic order, precisely by ascribing to it an overarching
functional pragmatic role as structured sets of speech acts. In my view, the
precarious distinction between discourse and text might have been
eschewed by acknowledging that text is still discourse, yet functioning at
another level compared to discourse as discursive order, that is at the level
of a more or less structured output (Candlin & Maley, 2014, p.202) rather
than as the process-oriented definition of discursive order (e.g. the
difference between finished film as text and cinematography as discursive
The notion of interdiscursivity has become quite entrenched in
accounts of professional discourse. The same definitional problematic
between text and discourse, intertextuality and interdiscursivity recurs in
this instance. On a par with Wodak’s (2008) aforementioned distinction,
Bhatia (2010) positions interdiscursivity at a superior (more abstract) level
compared to intertextuality, albeit failing to define it more concretely at
the identified abstraction level, save for ascribing a general descriptor that
somehow, fuzzily that is, concerns ‘cultural context’.
The usefulness of the term consists in adding emphasis to contextual
aspects of intertextuality, yet this aspect is not further qualified in
operationally pertinent terms. Additionally, it is applied to intertextuality
Chapter One
on a genre level, as contextual aspects of inter-genre interactions, without
taking cognizance of the superior ontogenetic role performed by discourse
and hence of interdiscursivity as noted earlier. “Interdiscursivity can be
viewed as appropriation of semiotic resources […] across any two or more
of these different levels, especially those of genre, professional practice
and professional culture. Appropriations across texts thus give rise to
intertextual relations, whereas appropriations across professional genres,
practices, and cultures constitute interdiscursive relations” (Bhatia, 2010,
p.35; Bhatia, 2014). Discursivity, here, is progressively identified by
Bhatia with cultural practices, rather than texts, whereas initially the
distinction appears to be concerning levels of innovation between cross-
genre fertilizations. This shift in argumentative focal points between the
beginning and the end of the syllogism imbues the distinction with greater
fuzziness than it might have afforded to dispel if greater consistency had
been applied in the initial exposition. Furthermore, it is not clear, in the
analytic’s own terms, why intertextuality concerns ‘texts’ and
interdiscursivity ‘genres’, since genres constitute canonical texts or
typified versions of texts based on recurrent grammatical and stylistic
patterns (or any other modally specific attributes, relata and combinatorial
rules that pertain to different modes). Genres do not constitute deductive
principles that are carved in stone, but inductively produced canons based
on recurrent modes of textualization. Hence, genres should be more
adequately subsumed under intertextuality, rather than interdiscursivity.
Bhatia (2010) does localize interdiscursivity at the level of discursive
practices as professional practices at a more abstract level compared to
texts, however, from a Foucauldian point of view, confusion emerges here
by failing to approach either practices or texts as discursive formations
and, hence, as being equally accountable in terms of interdiscursivity. A
reluctance to identify differences between types of discursive practices and
texts only affords to render by the same token professional practices
amenable to categorization based on intertextuality (that is if we accept the
ascription of genre, rather than type, to discursive practices) which,
returning full-circle to the initial problematic, would run counter to the
inaugurative distinction between text and discursive practice. A similar
action-oriented approach to genre is adopted by Wodak (2008) pace
Fairclough (2003, p. 65) who applies it across the spectrum of discursive
formations, from discursive practices up to texts (as social texts including
situated social interaction).
There is good reason why genre should not be applied uniformly
across discursive orders and texts, this being that whereas texts, as
aforementioned, constitute outputs of practices (e.g. a book), orders
Inter-Everything 21
constitute malleable formations that assume stability only provisionally,
based on the frame of reference that is recruited for constituting them as
such. This was demonstrated earlier by recourse to the example of a film
as discourse type of the order of work or leisure, depending on whether it
is approached from the perspective of a lay viewer or a producer. This
difference impacts directly on the interdiscursive relationship between
order and type and concomitantly on their taxonomic classification in a
schema ranging from meta-discourse to situated social actions.
Genre is a handy heuristic for classifying texts according to a common
set of structural criteria (see chapter 3 for a more extended discussion).
Fairclough (2003) suggests that some genres have more fluid boundaries
than others, while maintaining a skeptical posture as to whether types such
as social actions may be classified under the genre nomenclature. This
skeptical attitude notwithstanding, post-literary studies applications of
‘genre’ have been keen on connecting “a recognition of regularities in
discourse types with a broader social and cultural understanding of
language in use” (Freedman & Medway, 2005, p.2). In this context,
Bakhtin’s assertion that genre conventions display greater plasticity
compared to rules of syntax has been increasingly shared among genre
theorists, especially where dynamically shifting conventions are involved
in discourse communities. Nevertheless, I think that it merits highlighting
that Foucault’s post-structuralist approach to discursive formations
generates an ontological distance between such formations and more rigid
structures, such as genres. This does not imply that discursive orders may
not be typified, but that this typification differs markedly from the
structuralist undertaking of applying a genre-related check-list, while
being more akin to the outcome of a reading strategy whereby a discursive
apparatus is recognized as being instantiated in a social practice (cf.
Rossolatos, 2017a). This typification is possible, as noted by Miller (2005)
pace Halliday (1978), because discursive orders are not recurrent
constellations of pure materiality, but semiotic structures as entextualized,
memorable, and repeatable forms of discourse (Bauman, 2004). In this
sense, discourse types are related to orders in a manner that is more
defining of Wittgensteinian family resemblances rather than genre.
The praxiological battleground against discursivity
The so-called practice turn was inaugurated in the late 90’s with a
promise of offering a novel account of the constitution of society or,
rather, of social order, based on the arrangement of social practices. The
practice turn emerged as an expressed challenger to the cultural turn in
Chapter One
social theory, but also to the preponderance of discourse in effectively
accounting for sociocultural practices. Schatzki (2002) presents this turn as
a social ontology, capable of accounting for all social, institutional,
cultural organizational forms under the catch-all descriptor social
practices. To this end, he engages dialogically with an eclectic array of
theories across the humanities and the social sciences, from Heidegger’s
social ontology, Foucault’s and Laclau & Chantal Mouffe’s theories of
discursivity, to early Wittgensteinian pragmatics and Latour’s Actor
Network Theory (ANT), among others. Lately, praxiology has been
gaining momentum, although still being beset by the theoretical and
methodological ambiguities that plague perspectives at their nascent stage.
Foucault had already alluded to discursive practices as social practices
as early as in the Archeology, while the full-fledged practice turn was
undertaken in his post-structuralist period, that is in the post Archeology
writings. In essence, the ‘practice turn’ had already been taken ever since
the Archeology. In Foucault’s own words: “what I try to analyze are
practices: the logic immanent to a practice, the strategies that support this
and, consequently, the way individuals—freely, in their struggles, in their
confrontations, in their projects—constitute themselves as the subjects of
their practices or refuse on the contrary the practices offered to them”
(Djaballah, 2008, p.218).
The similarities between Foucault’s conceptualization of social
practice as discursive, but not strictly linguistic while encompassing
embodied and largely tacit (yet questionably so, as argued by Turner
[1994, 2001]) interactions, and Wittgenstein’s notion of language games
have been amply noted in the extant literature: “similar to Wittgenstein’s
‘game’, a practice is a preconceptual, anonymous, socially sanctioned
body of rules that govern one’s manner of perceiving, judging, imagining,
and acting” (Fynn, 2005, p.31). However, discursive practices are not
equivalent to social practices as approached from a praxiological lens.
The ontological realist leanings of praxiology
Schatzki’s (2002) praxiology that is heavily influenced by Latour’s
ANT, adopts an ontologically realist perspective, at its most naïve, that is
by portraying social practices as assemblages of non-hierarchically distinct
artefacts, humans, processes, sayings (Schatzki’s term for utterance or
enunciation, in Foucauldian terms) whose systematic arrangement is not
the outcome of discursive formations, but of directly reflective
descriptions. This realistic epistemological posture cuts through the entire
praxiological perspective and runs counter to the radically constructivist
... For example, studies that may have used the term 'discourse' in the abstract and/or in the keywords, in fact, employ it in a more intuitive, and mainly qualitatively oriented interpretive/analytical manner, such as inductive, thematic analysis, or even grounded theory. This is also evinced as a discrepancy between the extent and depth whereby specific DA streams have been advancing (for example, media discourse analysis or MDA or computermediated discourse analysis or CMDA, or psychoanalytic discourse analysissee Rossolatos 2018) and their application within marketing research. Fifth, the occasionally identified discourse strategies need to be defined in context, as their use may be identical in nominal terms, albeit differing in their manifestation, especially when seeking to demonstrate how their use covaries with the employment of distinctive lexical and grammatical resources. ...
... Finally, despite the fact that the application of CAQDAS (or QDAS) is almost a mainstay in DA studies (Djonov & van Leeuwen 2018), in interpretivist and mixed methods (Bazeley 2018) marketing research, it has been applied on an embryonic level, with the exception of studies which have not been published in the mainstream marketing literature (e.g. Rossolatos 2014bRossolatos , 2018. In this respect, there is a marked need for moving from traditional interpretive analysis that is laden with selectivity bias, especially as regards the use of verbatims as exemplars, to a more systematic approach with the use of CAQDAS. ...
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This volume addresses some of the most important conceptual, methodological, and empirical challenges and opportunities with which the sister disciplines of semiotics and discourse analysis are mutually confronted in the context of considering new avenues of cross-disciplinary application to distinctive branding research streams. In continuation of the collective volume 'Handbook of Brand Semiotics' (Kassel University Press, 2015), which sought to consolidate relevant scholarship and to identify the main territories that have been established at the cross-roads between branding and semiotic research, the current 'Advances in Brand Semiotics & Discourse Analysis' aims at accomplishing further strides in critical areas, such as the exigency for reconsidering the aptness of existing semiotic theories in the face of the radically shifting co-creative landscape of digital branding, the benefits of systematically micro-analyzing brand communities’ discourses by drawing on CAQDAS programs, the combination of big data analytics with discourse theory in corpus analysis, and the epistemological issues that emerge while combining discourse analysis with time-hallowed marketing qualitative and quantitative research methods. At the same time, the volume hosts a resourceful blend of empirical studies and novel conceptual frameworks in burgeoning streams, such as place, heritage, culinary, personal, and political branding.
... As is well known to those versed in sociology, later attempts at bridging the binarism structure/agency were made by the likes of Bourdieu and his notion of habitus, as well as in Giddens' structuration theory. In any case, the battle of sociological perspectives rages on, ranging from exponents of the collapse of the macro/micro divide to assemblage theorists who argue for an equally valid agentic status between inanimate objects and humans (see Rossolatos, 2018). This is by no means the place for engaging in such most important, albeit not narrowly relevant considerations. ...
... Whereas in his theory on traumatism (Beyond the Pleasure Principle, cf. Rossolatos, 2018) this interplay was enacted between the drives of Eros and Thanatos (ultimately being reducible to the monism of the death drive), in the later work (Civilization and its Discontents) that marked a transition from ego to social psychology, Ananke appears to be paradigmatically displacing Thanatos. In this context, the compulsion to re-enact and proliferate mass shooting events is not driven by the death drive, as an unconscious will for returning to a state of inanimate matter, but to Ananke, as the collective unconscious will for regressing to the traumatic moment of entry to the symbolic. ...
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The purpose of this chapter is to unearth the cultural conditionals that silently buttress the recurrence of one of the most violent crimes of our times, namely mass shootings. These conditionals are rooted in a religious discourse that thrives on the notions of sacred and sacrifice as a violent act par excellence, yet of inaugural value for the constitution of a community and its symbolic order. The offered analysis draws on Kristeva’s semanalytic perspective, in an interdisciplinary dialogue with sociological strands.
... In addition, Oliver's packaging aesthetics in terms of color coding do not display significant differences from competitive brand packs which revolve around each SKU's main ingredient (e.g., red for tomatoes, pepper). This packaging design strategy is a typical case of sensation transference (Spence 2016) as intermodal interplay (Rossolatos 2018) between ingredients and packaging aesthetics. The key point of differentiation, in packaging terms, between Oliver's pestos and the other two brands rests with the featured visuals. ...
... Since the driving research question of this study concerns demonstrating the modes of discursive articulation of Oliver's (dis)placed branding approach by attending to his latest Italian travelogues, on the one hand, and examining which social actors and 'other voices' are suppressed in the process of appropriating Italianness, on the other hand, the CDA methods of inquiry stem mainly from Fairclough's (2003) approach as it lies closer to the original Foucauldian conceptualization of discourse (cf. Rossolatos 2018). As highlighted by Machin and van Leeuwen (2007), discourses do not simply reflect social practices, events, and interaction modes, but essentially transform and legitimate them. ...
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Amidst the constantly augmenting gastronomic capital of celebrity chefs, this study scrutinizes from a critical discourse analytic angle how Jamie Oliver has managed to carve a global brand identity through a process that is termed (dis)placed branding. A roadmap is furnished as to how Italy as place brand and Italianness are discursively articulated, (dis)placed and appropriated in Jamie Oliver’s travelogues which are reflected in his global brand identity. By enriching the CDA methodological toolbox with a deconstructive reading strategy, it is shown that Oliver’s celebrity equity ultimately boils down to supplementing the localized meaning of place of origin with a simulacral, hyperreal place of origin. In this manner, the celebrity’s recipes become more original than the original or doubly original. The (dis)placed branding process that is outlined in the face of Oliver’s global branding strategy is critically discussed with reference to the employed discursive strategies, lexicogrammatical and multimodal choices. Keywords: Jamie Oliver, place branding, celebrity branding, personal branding, critical discourse analysis, deconstruction
... In the process of the unfolding narrative of the virus as a system of symbolic exchanges, death takes its toll for those not-dead-yet. The death toll functions as a reminder of the negative value of life as fleeing-from-death (Heidegger, 2001;Rossolatos, 2018c), and as the ultimate universal hovering over life. The death toll attests to an ontological debt bequeathed to the living who owe their life to the non-materialization of the possibility of being deprived of it. ...
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This paper offers a brand storytelling, that is a narratological account of Covid-19 pandemic’s emergence phase. By adopting a fictional ontological standpoint, the virus’ deploying media story-world is identified with a process of narrative spacing. Subsequently, the brand’s personality is analyzed as a narrative place brand. The narrative model that is put forward aims at outlining the main episodes that make up the virus’ brand personality as process and structural components (actors, settings, actions, relationships). A series of deep or ontological metaphors are singled out as the core DNA of this place brand, by applying metaphorical modeling to the tropical articulation of Covid-19’s narrative. The virus’ kernel is identified with terror, as a menacing force that wipes out existing regimes of signification due to its uncertain motives, origins and operational mode. In this context, familiar urban spaces, cultural practices and intersubjective communications are redefined, repurposed and reprogrammed. This process is called terrorealization, as the desertification and metaphorical sublation of all prior territorial significations. This study contributes to the narrative sub-stream of place branding by approaching a globally relevant sociocultural phenomenon from a brand storytelling perspective.
... For Barthes, this amounts to a system of signs. For Foucault, this amounts to an interdiscursive nexus that conditions subordinate discourses (Rossolatos 2018b). This 'nexus' has no metaphysical reality outside of the discursive formation that seeks to encapsulate it. ...
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Cultural consumer research is a very important marketing research stream to be left to the hands of Marxists. Unfortunately, due to inertia that is occasionally identified with heritage and consumer loyalty, coupled with academic politics and politicized ostracism, cultural consumer research has been identified with some inessential polar attractors, posing as orthodox Marxists and theologians preaching don-quixotically against the spectral wind-mill called ‘neoliberalism’. In this article, they go so far as to tag the use of the term ‘consumer’ a corporate fetish. As will be shown in this short, but hopefully informative reply (on this, and other ‘adjacent’ fronts), not only the term fetish has been mistakenly ascribed in this instance (based on the authors’ intentions), but that the very notion of commodity fetishism that has been fetishistically idolized over and over, is by definition untenable.
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This paper offers a social phenomenological reading of the globally binding practice of 'social distancing' in light of the precautionary measures against the spreading of the Covid-19 virus. Amid speculation about the far-reaching effects of temporarily applicable measures and foresights about the advent of an ethos that has been heralded by the media as the 'new normal', the ubiquitous phenomenon of social distancing calls for a fundamental ontological elucidation. The purported hermeneutic that is situated in the broader place branding and experiential marketing literatures places Covid-19 in the shoes of Being, and, therefore, imagines how Being would behave ontologically if it were a virus. By positing that the virus does operate like Being, five these are formulated as experiential interpretive categories with regard to the ontological status of Covid-19. The adopted approach makes the following contributions to the extant literature: First, it addresses a wholly new phenomenon in place branding, namely a pre-branded place that is non-negotiable, globally applicable and seemingly equivalent to pure void. Second, it advances the application of phenomenological research in experiential consumption by highlighting the aptness of the so far peripheral (in the marketing discipline) strand of Heideggerian fundamental ontology. Third, it expands the notion of place in the place branding literature, by showing how spatialization is the outcome of temporalization, in line with the adopted phenomenological perspective.
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Mass shootings constitute a recurrent and most violent phenomenon in the U.S. and elsewhere. This paper challenges the ready-made, solipsistically contained metanarratives on offer by mainstream media and formal institutions with regard to the psychological antecedents of the perpetrating social actors, while theorizing mass shootings as acts of violence that are systemically inscribed in the foundations of communities. These foundations abide by the logic of sacrifice which is propagated in instances of collective traumatism. It is argued that the cultural trauma that emanates from events of mass shootings, inasmuch as the commemorative events that are performed on regular occasions, constitute re-enactments of the death drive that sustains communities. The cultural analytic deploys against a CDA reading of longitudinal studies on mass shootings, coupled with psychoanalytic discourse analysis, prior to submitting mass shootings to a deconstructive line of reasoning as systemically necessary transcendental violence. Ultimately, it is shown that the intertextual institutional chain that informs the mediatized representation of this social phenomenon merely attains to obliterate and, hence, to propagate cultural traumatism and the sacrificial logic that underpins it. The terms micrometanarrative, parafunction and expropriating ipseity are introduced and operationalized in this context.
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Social media brand communities (SMBCs) have been heralded for their co‐creative, participatory potential whereby consumers actively contribute to the proliferation of meaningful brand avenues in a virtuously circular relationship with brands. Elevated loyalty and enhanced brand equity have been posited repeatedly as likely outcomes of a positively engaged community of brand aficionados. However, evidence to the contrary as negative brand co‐creation or brand co‐destruction has been progressively piling up in the extant literature. This paper contributes to the meaning co‐creation in SMBCs literature primarily on two grounds: first, by offering a methodological framework for adapting the laddering research technique in a mixed methods vein to SMBCs data in a thread‐specific context, by leveraging the analytical capabilities of NVivo CAQDAS software; second, by addressing bottlenecks in the applicability of the proposed methodology in light of negative brand co‐creation.
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Globalization allegedly constitutes one of the most used and abused concepts in the contemporary academic and lay lexicons alike. This chapter pursues a deconstructive avenue for canvassing the semiotic economy of cultural globalization. The variegated ways whereby ideology has been framed in different semiotic perspectives (Peircean, structuralist, post-structuralist, neo-Marxist) are laid out. By engaging with the post-structuralist semiotic terrain, cultural globalization is identified with a transition from Baudrillard's Political Economy of Signs towards a spectral ideology where signs give way to traces of différance. Subsequently, the process whereby globalization materializes is conceived as a social hauntology. In this context, global citizens engage in a constant retracing of the meaning of signs of globalization that crystallize as translocally flowing mediascapes. The propounded thesis is exemplified by recourse to cultural consumption phenomena from the domains of cinematic discourse, food and social gaming.
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