Semiotics and the Language of Consumerism

Studio, Uncategorized


  • Interested in the way in which advertisers structure signs and language in order to sell an item but an experience of shopping and consumption.
  • Interested in the way in which the ‘language’ of capitalism has shaped our individual language in terms of how we regard items and purchases – with regard to reviews
  • Aim to analyse the language of reviews in order to understand how this has entered the cultural pysche
  • Aim to combine this with my own practice when travelling to shopping centres and interrogating my own experience
  • Posssible comparison with the second hand language used in luterature surrounding shopping in Walter Benjamin’s, ‘The Arcades Project’

First Text:

‘You Are What You Buy: Postmodern Consumerism and the Construction of Self’ – Danielle Todd –

“Consumption is intimately tied to the creation and production of a sense of self.”

“Today, it is virtually impossible to buy any product not embedded with certain symbols of identity acquired by the buyer knowingly or otherwise.”

“consumption functions as way for the consumer to communicate with society at large where they fit within the social structure.”

“Drawing on semiotics, Baudrillard uses the sign/ signifier technique to explain consumption so that what we purchase is not just a product, but also a piece of a “language” that creates a sense of who we are.”

“The point is that fixity can no longer be assumed; personal relationships and connections to social groups are always contingent; and, individuals must now scan the world to decide with whom or what they wish to identify.”





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