Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

Are you a PC?

Foregrounding and accompanying the release of Microsoft’s latest operating system, the “I’m a PC and Windows 7 was my idea” advertising campaign has become the latest in a line of marketing tools that suppose specific connections between products and potential consumers. For example, as Dell emphasise the veritable sweet-shop of choice and variety available to the discerning customer, so Microsoft opt to empower the consumer through placing them at the forefront of the development process. Here, consumers have creative control, are able to express themselves freely and individually, and in the case of Microsoft, are the literal embodiment of their chosen operating system.

Whilst arguing for the inclusion of a political economic analysis of mass media and culture in Geography, Clayton Rosati provides a compelling argument as to the possibility of using such examples of corporate enterprise to explore the industrial production of culture.

As Rosati suggests, “through [the] deployment of media machinery, media companies…can better captivate emergent structures of feeling and as such better transform the means of cultural production to intensify the industrial production of culture” (571). Thus, the necessity for corporate enterprise to “perfect its enchanting song and the means of delivering it above the din of every other song” (571), necessitates a similar propensity to manage, and further, to transform consumer taste and preference.

Whilst, in terms of the example of the advertising for Windows 7, we may debate the ’emergent structure of feeling’ we might associate with the ubiquity of computing technologies, Rosati’s article places a notable emphasis on the importance of the spatialities of industrial production.

“Geography is central to this process, not simply in containing the infrastructure of the industrial production of culture, but also in defining its proprietary limits…and further unifying its consumers in a shared exclusion” (571-2). Here, not unlike ‘The spatial politics of virtual worlds’, seemingly intangible and elusive networks of power are placed within international and spatial divisions of labour.

By Matthew Rech

Read Jason Palmer’s report on the release of Windows 7 on BBC online

Read Rosati, C (2007) MTV: 360˚ of the industrial production of culture. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 32. 4, 556-75

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