2014년 9월 3일 수요일

[발췌: R.V.Kozinets's] Can Consumer Escape the Market? (2002)

출처: Robert V. Kozinets (2002). "Can Consumer Escape the Market? Emancipatory Illuminations from Burning Man", Journal of Consumer Research, Jun 2002; 29,1.


※ 발췌 (excerpts):
This ethnography explores the emancipatory dynamics of the Burning Man project, a one-week-long antimarket event. Practices used at Burning Man to distance consumers from the market include discourses supporting communality and disparaging market logics, alternative exchange practices, and positioning consumption as self-expressive art. Findings reveal several communal practices that distance consumption from broader rhetorics of efficiency and rationality. Although Burning Man's participants materially support the market, they successfully construct a temporary hypercommunity from which to practice divergent social logics. Escape from the market, if possible at all, must be conceived of as similarly temporary and local.

* * * 

After all the plans, dreaming, and anticipation, on August 31, 1999, I veer and bump my rented blue Malibu across deep desert scars, steering it into a stretch of Nevada desert nestled within a ring of mountains. As the Black Rock Desert's powdery dust swirls a distinctive alkali smell into m nostrils for the first time, I use my Visa card at the gate to purchase a $110 ticket. This charge is more than a three-day adult pass to Walt Disney World, and the fact that I am purchasing it on my Visa card seems inconsistent with Burning Man's acclaimed status as a noncommercial event. Yet Burning Man's organizers justify the high price of the tickets by reference to government payments and the good of the Burning Man community. They emphasize that a not-for-profit, mainly volunteer, limited liability corporation runs Burning Man and justify their acceptance of Visa cards through an egalitarian appeal to accessibility and convenience. Yet the easy ka-ching at the gate makes me suspect that I'm entering a new adult theme park rather than the site of the new revolution. My sense of Burning Man as entertainment changes a bit as I read the ticket, which states the risks and rules of the event: "You voluntarily assume the risk of serious injury or death by attending this event. You must bring enough food, water, shelter and first aid to ^survive^ one week in a harsh desert environment. Commercial vending, firearms, fireworks, rockets and all other explosives prohibited. ... this is not a consumer event. Leave nothing behind when you leave the site. Participant only. No spectators."

( ... ... ) The burning of the Man is the central and uniting metaphor of the festival, one based on purification through fire. Participants are encouraged to consider an act of transference onto the Burning Man by concentrating , while the effigy is burning, on what they would like to eliminate in their lives, what they came to burn. On Saturday night the festival reaches its apogee when the Man is set ablaze, loaded with pyrotechnics. Masses of people drum and dance around its burning form, celebrating wildly, often until dawn.

( ... ... )

Burning Man has been conceived by its organizers as an experimental project that seeks to temporarily create an experience of caring human contact in a society "whose economic and technological dynamic attrits and intrudes upon the integrity of the cultural process" (Harvey 1997). It began in 1985, when Jerry James and Larry Harvey, took a small group of bohemian friends to San Francisco's Baker Beach to burn an eight foot tall figure of a man they had made out of wood (Harvey 1997; Stein 2000). As Harvey (1997) recalls it, at that first event everyone on the beach came running at the moment the man flamed upㅡ"suddenly, our numbers tripled." People began to perform, playing guitar, singing and dancing spontaneously. "What we had instantly created was a community" (Harvey 1997). After holding the event on Baker Beach annually for several years, attracting more people and attention each time, the event (along with the physical dimensions of the Man) grew so large that it was officially banned from the site. In 1990, Harvey and friends moved the event to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada: "4oo square miles of nothing" (Harvey 1997). What began in 1990 with "60 people, maybe 80 people" (Harvey 1997) had grown by 2000 to an event that attracted 26,000. Burning Man 1999's attendees were, on average, 30.5 years old. 64% were male, 61% lived in the state of California, and 37% lived in the Bay Area. ( ... ... )

( ... ... ) With participants exhibiting a strong sense of identity as Burning Man participants ( ... ), sharing rituals such as burning the Man and traditions such as self-expressive participation, and affecting a remarkably strong civic engagement in their temporary city, Burning Man easily passes the threshold for the "three core components or markers of community" laid out by Muniz and O'Guinn (2001, p. 412)


( ... ... )


Burning Man is a weeklong communal gathering that alters participants' consumption meanings and practices through discourse, rules, and practice. The entire community's consumption experiences are socially constructed as distanced from, even outside of, consumer culture and the market. To achieve this, several discursive acts and ritual practices are employed. These acts are as follows. First, prevalent discourse about marketing, corporate greed, and passive consumption attempts to discharge the threat of consumer culture and to argue that Burning Man is an effective, albeit temporary, antidote to it. Second, marketplace logics that usually drive acquisition of goods and services are constructed as absent within the borders of Burning Man through the employment of alternative exchange modes. Finally, as Burning Man participants produce a variety of consumption experiences for one another, they attempt to re-enchant or "re-mystify" the social world (Barber 1995; Weber 1978) by discursively constructing a myriad of forms of production and consumption as forms of self-expressive art. By positioning production and consumption as expressive rather than productive, the rational efficiency motive that drives marketplaces production is discursively disabled, and opportunities for re-enchantment emerge. Through these practices of discursively neutralizing marketing and corporate greed, enacting alternative exchange practices, and re-enchanting production and consumption by relating it in discourse and practice to art, various products and services are effectively disarticulated from market logics and rearticulated onto communal ethos and subcultural ideologies. These discursive and enacted consumption practices are explored in the following sections.

Discursively Positioning Burning Man's Community against the Market

In this section, we explore discourse used to separate communally oriented consumption from negative characteristics ascribed to the market. To do so, we begin with a brief historical genealogy. In 1987, several members of a San Francisco neo-anarchist group named the Cacophony Society became affiliated with Burning Man and, in 1990, suggested the successful relocation to the Black Rock Desert. Beginning as reincarnation of a club based on a class of San Francisco's Communiversity, the Cacophony Society was dedicated to staging and performing strange, edgy events. Those early, cacophony-inspired years of Burning Man were a pyomaniacal anarchy without rules.  In attempts over the ensuing years to improve and manage the rapidly growing event, the event's organizers increasingly encoded social norms in rules that they publicized in written, broadcast, and Web-based communications. The result is an event structured by rules. The local volunteer police force, the Rangers, enforces the rules. They are trained to be diplomatic but can and do use expulsion and physical force. ( ... ... )

Emphasizing the No Vending Rule. As of 2000, the rules most often mentioned included No Spectators (an injunction to participate), Radical Self-Expression, Radical Self-Reliance, Piss Clear (an indicator that body hydration has been maintained by drinking water frequently), and Leave No Trace (ecological responsibility for removing your own garbage). The rule most important to this investigation is the No Vending Rule, which forbids any type of selling by participants at the event. In the opening edition of the ^Black Rock City Gazette^ for Burning Man 1999, the rules against vending were extended to include suggestions to "mask, hide or disguise the eye-sore logos that get in our faces constantly and without our consent when we are in the 'normal world' " (Fang 1999, p. 1). These injunctions against commerce and displaying brand names are ubiquitous at Burning Man, posted on public signs, publicized in documents, mentioned frequently.

To understand the purposes that the No Vending rule and its Mask the Brand Names extension fulfill, we must explore the connection between markets and what Burning Man organizers and participants term "community". This relation is apparent in the five signs of a community published in the Burning Man Organization's (2000) most important document, the required reading "Survival Guide."
  • The first sign of a community is mutual recognition of each member's unique abilities versus the tendency of "commerce and the public sector [to] define us on the basis of deficiency and need" (Burning Man Organization 2000).
  • The second sign is cooperative, collective effort, as opposed to being "made passive" when consuming a service or being part of a mass market that consumes or views "in complete isolation from one another" (Burning Man Organization 2000).
  • Lack of persuasion and overt exploitation is the third sign, in which transactions take place without money, advertising, or hype. 
  • Local myths or the use of stories as opposed to the use of formal business reports is the fourth sign.
  • The fifth sign is a spirit of celebration in which, because of its intensely social character, "the line between work and play is blurred" (Burning Man Organization 2000). 
Analyzing the distinctions of the "Survival Guide," it is evident that it is not exchange per se that is being rejected as anticommunal but the exchanges of large, impersonal markets, markets where power is used to persuade and exploit faceless others. Monetary transactions in these markets are associated with persuasion and exploitation. Less directly, market exchange is related to passivity, social isolation, and joylessness, and defining consumers based on dehumanizing and deficiency-laden terms.

( ... ... )

Using Metaphors and Meanings of Consumption.  ( ... ... )

Burning Man Contrasted with Disneyland and Woodstock. ( ... ... )

Distancing by Keeping the Market in Mind. ( ... ... )

Burning Man's organizers and participants' critiques of consumer culture draw on concepts familiar from Marxism, critical theory, cultural studies, and postmodern market critiques. In some sense, emic familiarity with apparently etic concepts helps account for the sense that Burning Man deliberately explores the "long recognized and central tension of modernity" between the individualism of contemporary society and its underlying conformity (Muniz and O'Guinn 2001, p. 428). ( ... )

( ... ... )

( ... ... ) The discourse creates the sense of a place different from everyday society, a more untainted psychic location for self-transformation and social experimentation. It is as if by keeping the market centered u=in the cultural crosshairs, its alleged evils will be exorcised. An important way this discourse is reinforced and turned into practice is though Burning Man's gift economy.

Altering Social Relations with Alternative Modes of Exchange

( ... ... )

Gift Giving at Burning Man. In 1999 and 2000, attending the event entailed many gift-giving and gift-receiving practices. Considerable discursive treatment was devoted to the importance of the gift to Burning Man's communal experience. The "Survival Guide" states that "Black Rock City is a place of sharing and free exchange within a gift economy" (Burning Man Organization 2000). Gifts central to Burning Man's gift economy are the free entertainment services that, in toto, constitute the Burning Man experience. Other than the Burning of the Man, the urban planning, the Central Cafe, the Ranger police force, medical services, and the cleanup, there are few centrally organized activities. Everything else is created and donated by participants. Communal gifts included frequent staged public performances at hundreads of different theme camps, as well as rave and other dance clubs, many with very sophiscated constructions and expensive sound and light systems. Although most theme camps provided free servicesㅡsuch as free massages, interactive art experiences, bondage and domination rituals, and suntan oil applicationㅡother offered free goods. Many bars offered alcohol, usually for free, but sometimes bartered. The Midnight Popcorn Camp offered free fresh-popped and flavored popcorn at midnight every evening.

At Burning Man 2000, a nude and glowing with glitter young couple explained to me that they saw their naked, glittering bodies as temporary work of art that they gave to the community. ( ... ) However, as the following excerpt from my fieldnotes indicates, there is an interesting reciprocity involved. Not only thanks, but also powerful motivators of attention, status, and prestige are being exchanged. ( ... ... )

Decommodifying, Sacralizing, and Enhancing Community. ( ... ... )

Personalizing and Reducing Social Isolation.  ( ... ... )

Competition and Reciprocation in Gift Giving.  ( ... ... )

Creating Community through Changing Exchange.   Burning Man's organizers encourage and enforce alternative exchange practices. People have been forcibly ejected from the event for selling hamburgers, T-shirts, and other things. Organizers and participants construct alternative modes of exchange as providing alternative social relations that are superior to or purer than market logics. Their superiority evaluations hinge on the involvement of more personalized interactions, which encourage the mutuality that builds a sense of caring, sharing communality. Although brands and commodity goods are the raw material of the Burning Man experience, the decommodifying rituals of nonmonetary exchange seem to overwhelm the commercial nature of the brand and create a communal atmosphere held to be apart from the market. This is the second type of social practice that is used to distance consumers and consumption from the market. ( ... ... )

Re-enchanting by Associating Everyday Consumption with Art

The Connection between Caring Community and Art.  ( ... ... )

Art as Invitation to Self-Expression and Transformation.  ( ... ... )

Art Socially Constructed as Distanced from Market and Corporate Logics.  ( ... ... )

Promethean Struggles between Communities and Markets.  ( ... ... )

Re-enchanting Community through Art and Expression.  ( ... ... )


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