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If, through the years, American advertising has offered a clean and simple approach to getting out the word on new products or services, it has also made a complex, disturbing, and fascinating statement about American ideals and ideologies. This book, accessible to all readers, provides the necessary tools to interpret and understand in historical perspective how the American advertising industry portrays anyone other than the white American mainstream African Americans, women, Native Americans, tourists of many nationalities, all of whom have come to be known as the other'' in its print media.With more than one hundred carefully selected illustrations, Professor O'Barr takes us on an enlightening excursion from two early American travel manuals (which so subtly and perhaps even unconsciously delineated a hegemonic ideology to the amateur American tourist-photographer), to advertisements in the 1929 National Geographic magazine, to Dennis O'Rourke's disturbing 1987 film Cannibal Tours, to images of blackness across the twentieth century, and on to the representation of the Japanese (and, conversely, their representation of white Americans) in contemporary times.Though the author writes in a witty and readable style for the student and general reader, the argument he develops is one of profound seriousness: that the representation of foreigners and other categories of outsiders who appear in advertisements provides paradigms for relations between members of advertising's intended audience and those defined as outside of it. These paradigms constitute an ideological guide for relations of hierarchy, dominance, and subordination between self and others, between us” and them.”
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William M. O'Barr is professor of cultural anthropology at Duke University.From Library Journal:
Advertising agencies are not culturally sensitive; now, that's a surprising discovery! In this work, O'Barr (cultural anthropology, Duke Univ.) argues that advertising communicates subliminal messages regarding the social and economic dominance of its target audience. He begins by analyzing the images in print advertisements, mostly from before World War II; these analyses vary from strongly persuasive to ponderously moralistic and subjective. He then invites the reader to try his/her hand with advertisements depicting African Americans. Twenty-six of the 43 advertisements are from before the Civil Rights movement and are filled with blatant stereotypes. O'Barr skims over the interaction of media, advertising, and the mores of society while arguing that advertising agencies should be socially responsible, even if the public is not. Recommended for anthropology, media, and political science collections.
Edward Buller, "Natural History," American Musuem of Natural History
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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