Commercialization of emotions and fear – contribution to the sociology of emotions
Author: Korana Simonovic, email@example.com
University: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Supervisor: Saša Božic
Year of completion: 2012
Language of dissertation: Croatian
Areas of Research: Communication, Knowledge and Culture , Senses and Society , Economy and Society
This thesis tries to highlight some particular moments of market control over man through his fears and emotions, and points to some ways of commercialization fear in the sphere of the workplace and advertising. The goal of the study is aimed at highlighting some market specific ways of control over man through his latent fear in the sphere of consumption (advertising) and in the sphere of work, which implies a general goal of highlighting the relationship between market logic and latent fear. For this purpose of the research, critical qualitative paradigm was selected because it is the most appropriate framework for the research which reveals the pressures of market logic on a man, and highlights the mechanisms of social and market control which are held by the people themselves. So, thesis paradigm links the micro approach (person) with the macro approach (social structure) by considering market pressure on people's lives and their consciousness (subjective). The thesis method seek hidden grounds that shape people's lives and aim at understanding the subjective awareness of social conditions. To identify the social pressures on people and to discover the conditions under which individual consciousness is formed is the main guidelines of this thesis. First, I elaborate the theory of the pressure that market logic has on man, his emotions and fears, which can be observed from the perspective of commercialization of fear. Afterwards, by qualitative critical research, I question the importance of fear and emotions in maintaining market domination in the sphere of consumption control (advertisements) and in the production sphere (workplace). Through data analysis I have discovered some manipulatory emotional models in commercial ads, emotional patterns in the work context and social aspects of fear and emotions which point to the commercialization of fear. Research results indicate that the commercials manipulated with the following themes: compliance and beauty of life; connection, belonging and security; success, attractiveness and importance. These themes are connected to the quiet themes: fear of life difficulty and meaninglessness of life; fear of loneliness (rejection); fear of failure (irrelevance, loss of reputation). Models of pressure which are manipulated by advertising are: use of contradiction, use of myth, use of motive and use of general problem. The results of research in workplace indicate that there is a general fear for the existence which is manifested as: fear in relationships with others, fear of authority, and climate of fear. Regarding research results I explained theoretical contributions to the understanding of latent fear as a mechanism of market control. I conclude that placing the questions of commercialization of fear in the limelight can help in understanding social processes that determine the controlling relation of market logic towards the living world and man, as well as principles of usability over man and nature, which in addition validates the importance of observing fear and emotions within sociology. Finally, I suggest the importance of understanding commercialization of fear because various structures of society use fear which is institutionalized and became a medium for maintaining power.