Culture, Irishness and the Advertising Industry
Preface Continuity should not be understood as stability or sameness over time, but as the contingent relations between successive social formations.1 This book is the product of a number of years spent researching the adver- tising industry in the Republic of Ireland (hereafter Ireland) as both a prac- titioner and an academic. Advertising interests me for a variety of reasons but above all perhaps because of its perceived role as a shaper of identities and as a mediator of meanings. In particular, I am interested in the notion that “culture matters” in advertising; that advertisements carry culturally- specific meanings and messages which often “travel” poorly. Culture in this context means Culture with a capital C (communal beliefs, symbols, customs etc.) as opposed to celebrity culture, organic culture or any other variety. In this book I attempt to tackle a very broad subject in a deliberately narrow way. The focus on Irishness is used as a means of analytically linking advertising, as a commercial activity, and advertisements, as socio-symbolic texts (though it goes without saying that the cultural and the commercial are inextricably entangled in advertising). Irishness is both an input and an output of the advertising production process; it is both produced and consumed in advertising. Yet it is important to state from the outset that I am primarily interested in advertising production rather than consumption and therefore while I consider some of the ways in which Irishness has been represented in advertising texts, especially in the context of an...
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