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Luxury new media: euphoria in unhappiness

Luxury new media: euphoria in unhappiness
Luxury new media: euphoria in unhappiness
In this article, we are concerned with how the contemporary cultural-theoretical concept of luxury, an idea of deep-seated importance for Christopher J. Berry (1994), can be considered as a good or service that is effortlessly substitutable since the desire for it lacks passion. Against Berry, we argue that, in the present period, any deliberation on luxury must entail a multifaceted engagement with the intensification of our sense of alienation intertwined with our fervent sense of an existence governed by outside powers, which apparently establish new modes of social control together with new modes of inauthenticity that disaffect “us” from “our” “selves.” To theorize these outside powers, and reintroducing the somewhat neglected critical theory of the Marxian philosopher Herbert Marcuse (1964), we identify the ongoing cultural form of what we conceptualize as “luxury new media.” We argue that luxury new media is a novel type of luxury, one that is not interpersonally relative, as Berry proposes, but relationally dubious, which is creating innovative varieties of luxury new media goods and services. We subsequently investigate how the luxury new media of what we, extending Marcuse, call “euphoria in unhappiness” nurtures the contemporary development of “false social needs.” Lastly, we question the growth in importance of luxury new media as a form of managed choice today when such luxurious choice is, counter to Berry, not simple or lacking in intensity but in fact problematic and steeped in economic desire.
Euphoria, Luxury, New Media, Unhappiness
113-132
Armitage, John
19639b0b-0399-4dc6-9369-4d8c1ed77480
Roberts, Joanne
c49f0cf6-8c79-4826-b7f2-8563d7aa99cf
Armitage, John
19639b0b-0399-4dc6-9369-4d8c1ed77480
Roberts, Joanne
c49f0cf6-8c79-4826-b7f2-8563d7aa99cf

Armitage, John and Roberts, Joanne (2014) Luxury new media: euphoria in unhappiness. Luxury: History, Culture, Consumption, 1 (1), 113-132. (doi:10.2752/205118174X14066464962553).

Record type: Article

Abstract

In this article, we are concerned with how the contemporary cultural-theoretical concept of luxury, an idea of deep-seated importance for Christopher J. Berry (1994), can be considered as a good or service that is effortlessly substitutable since the desire for it lacks passion. Against Berry, we argue that, in the present period, any deliberation on luxury must entail a multifaceted engagement with the intensification of our sense of alienation intertwined with our fervent sense of an existence governed by outside powers, which apparently establish new modes of social control together with new modes of inauthenticity that disaffect “us” from “our” “selves.” To theorize these outside powers, and reintroducing the somewhat neglected critical theory of the Marxian philosopher Herbert Marcuse (1964), we identify the ongoing cultural form of what we conceptualize as “luxury new media.” We argue that luxury new media is a novel type of luxury, one that is not interpersonally relative, as Berry proposes, but relationally dubious, which is creating innovative varieties of luxury new media goods and services. We subsequently investigate how the luxury new media of what we, extending Marcuse, call “euphoria in unhappiness” nurtures the contemporary development of “false social needs.” Lastly, we question the growth in importance of luxury new media as a form of managed choice today when such luxurious choice is, counter to Berry, not simple or lacking in intensity but in fact problematic and steeped in economic desire.

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More information

Published date: September 2014
Keywords: Euphoria, Luxury, New Media, Unhappiness
Organisations: Winchester School of Art

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 362998
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/362998
PURE UUID: a44a2891-dc18-4aa2-a888-0df0c88ca498
ORCID for Joanne Roberts: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5337-1698

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Date deposited: 20 Mar 2014 09:48
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:25

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Contributors

Author: John Armitage
Author: Joanne Roberts ORCID iD

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