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The Myth of Green Marketing

The Myth of Green Marketing: Tending Our Goats at the Edge of Apocalypse

Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 208
  • Book Info
    The Myth of Green Marketing
    Book Description:

    Smith analyses the role that social myths such as green marketing play in public understanding of the environmental crisis. Sure to raise controversy with its unique discussion of the cultural and social aspects of environmental issues.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5742-7
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Philosophy, Marketing & Advertising

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-14)

    It is with some uncertainty that the human race approaches the twenty-first century. Holes in the ozone, acid rain, pesticides in the ground water, dead whales bloated with toxins, mercury poisoning, and, of course, global warming all loom above us like the cloud behind the silver lining. Then there are the names: Love Canal, Three Mile Island, Bhopal, Minamata, Chernobyl, each one a metaphor for severe and permanent suffering. They may also be signposts on the road to Apocalypse.

    Many of us, of course, will not make it to the close of the millennium; natural disasters, disease, and starvation are...

  5. 1 Theoretical Considerations
    (pp. 15-41)

    The analysis proposed here is based on a synthesis of three groups of ideas: the concept of hegemony, modern developments in narrative theory, and an anthropological notion of social myth. Each one of these areas, of course, has produced innumerable volumes and much debate, but they are not necessarily discrete fields of study. Each impinges on the other. Myth generation, I argue, is a functional aspect of hegemony and it is the structure of narrative that largely shapes the character of myth. Each aspect will be discussed as it relates to the argument being made here.

    Selected aspects of recent...

  6. 2 Resignification of ‘Consume’
    (pp. 42-64)

    In the eighteenth century the dominance of mercantilist economic theory was superseded by a modern economic system, which focused on the circulation rather than the accumulation of capital. This radical shift centred its dynamic on large-scale domestic consumption. The reinforcing idea structure of mercantilism required a fixed notion of social class and a corresponding conceptualization of human nature that considered the lower majority of people to be intellectually static and culturally unrefinable. In order for mass consumption as the basis of an economic system to be operationalized, these two key beliefs had to change.

    Modern consumerism, the discourse upon which...

  7. 3 The Environmental Movement and Consumerism
    (pp. 65-87)

    It is important to remember that modern consumerism is tied not only to economic, political, and social aspects of productivist discourse, but also to ethical and ontological assumptions as well. Because of the significant capitalist contribution to productivist discourse, consumerism, so central to it, became signified within the positive, Utopian aspect of productivism by excluding critical social and ecological voices. The marginalized elements of the eighteenth century have remained latent, ready when the historical moment appeared to threaten the Utopian version of productivist discourse with inversion. At this point the inherent instability and constructive nature of the discourse are revealed....

  8. 4 Green Consumerism
    (pp. 88-123)

    It was argued in chapter 3 that a serious and legitimate ecological critique of productivist discourse has developed internationally since the late 1980s. Because this credible critique is aimed at the fundamental logics of productivism, it has the potential of revealing the constructed nature of productivist discourse. As I have claimed, our most profound understanding of the world (the very ontology and epistemology through which we perceive and act) is symbiotically tied to the idea structure of productivism. This gives apparent cohesion to the ordinary. Consequently, activities and ideas are emerging within the realm of the everyday that act to...

  9. 5 Analysis of Examples
    (pp. 124-158)

    Green consumerism is an act embedded in a facilitating matrix; it is not simply an isolated act of purchase. That activity is meaningful only within a system of beliefs that encode it with one significance but not another. The advertisements and public statements of producers and others related to the business of selling products are examined here to explore how green consumerism communicates by cloaking itself in the aura of existing authoritative discourses. Any number of examples of green consumerism could have been chosen, including those from environmental groups or consumer organizations. The point being made would not have been...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 159-164)

    To paraphrase Foucault paraphrasing Magritte, this is not a manifesto. On the other hand, neither is it an empty esoteric exercise. If we are seriously to address the environmental problems facing contemporary societies, we need to reinvent the human mind, not to eliminate Utopias or myths, technologies or science, but to free the imagination from the limitations of a finite world and absolute ethics. The topic of everyday domestic consumption is important for at least three major reasons. First, it is a prime mover of resources through the ecosystem. Second, it is the source of aggregate demand in the marketplace....

  11. Notes
    (pp. 165-168)
  12. References
    (pp. 169-182)
  13. Index
    (pp. 183-187)