The Codes of Advertising: Fetishism and the Political Economy of Meaning in the Consumer Society, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Codes of Advertising

Fetishism and the Political Economy of Meaning in the Consumer Society, 1st Edition

By Sut Jhally


240 pages

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This book examines the commercial speech of advertising as a cultural phenomenon whose social significance far exceeds its economic influence. Jhally argues that by selling viewing time to advertisers, television converts audiences into laborers who "work" for the media in the same way that workers do in a factory. By watching commercial messages on TV, viewers actively create symbolic meaning, but also generate profit for the media in return for the wage of entertainment.


"presents a detailed analysis of the specific political economy of the commercial, examining the way that, during advertising time on television, meaning is not only being generated in the relation between people and commercial messages, but is framed by the valorization of that watching activity." -- Journal of Economic Literature

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Fundamentals and Starting Points 2. The Fetishism of Commodities 3. The Valorisation of Consciousness 4. The Codes of the Audience 5. Advertising Codes and Fetishism 6. Conclusion: Advertising, Religion and the Mediation of Meaning

About the Author

Sut Jhally teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies