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OurSpace: Resisting the Corporate Control of Culture

Christine Harold
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    In OurSpace, Christine Harold examines the deployment and limitations of “culture jamming” by activists. For Harold, it is a different type of opposition that offers a genuine alternative to corporate consumerism. Exploring the revolutionary Creative Commons movement, copyleft, and open source technology, Harold advocates a more inclusive approach to intellectual property that invites innovation and wider participation in the creative process.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5434-5
    Subjects: Marketing & Advertising

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction The Brand Politics of Consuming Publics
    (pp. xiii-xxxiv)

    Rupert Murdoch knows a good thing when he sees it. In July 2005, the media mogul purchased for $580 million, a move that many suspected would sound the death knell for the hipster social-networking site. MySpace had risen, in just two short years, to the upper echelon of the Internet—despite the fact that many people (especially those over thirty) had never heard of it. MySpace was founded in 2003 by Web entrepreneurs Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe. At the time Murdoch’s News Corporation (News Corp) bought MySpace’s parent company, Inter mix Media, MySpace was the third-most-visited site on...

  5. 1 Detours and Drifts: Situationist International and the Art of Resistance
    (pp. 1-26)

    On October 29, 1952, Charlie Chaplin was giving a press conference in Paris to promote his latest film,Limelight.Chaplin, long considered the patron scamp of the workingman, had always enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the political Left. Indeed, “the little tramp” had defiantly shuffled, flat-footed, through the first half of twentieth-century America, poking his cane in the ribs of the establishment. At the height of American anticommunist paranoia, Chaplin was even “officially cited by the [U.S.] attorney general as a subversive”¹ — a label that should have contributed much to his “red cred” in the United States and abroad. Therefore,Chaplin...

  6. 2 Anti-Logos: Sabotaging the Brand through Parody
    (pp. 27-69)

    In late 2003,Adbusters,the activist magazine known for its parodic “subvertisements” and scathing critiques of consumer culture, launched its most ambitious antibranding campaign yet. Its Blackspot sneaker, an unassuming black canvas shoe with a large white spot where one would expect a corporate logo, is intended to uncool sportswear giant Nike by offering an ethically produced alternative to the swoosh. The magazine’s first goal was to challenge Nike’s controversial CEO by way of a fullpage ad in theNew York Times,declaring: “Phil Knight had a dream. He’d sell shoes. He’d sell dreams. He’d get rich. He’d use sweatshops...

  7. Intermezzo: And Now a Word from Our Sponsors
    (pp. 70-72)

    On a flight to Atlanta a few years ago, I was engaged in my favorite fear of flying distraction, flipping through the pages of a glossy fashion magazine. Suddenly, there among the beauty tips and perfume samples was an image of several angry young women, fists in the air, carrying picket signs and shouting protests on the steps of some anonymous, white-columned hall of the establishment. My interest was instantly piqued. After all, this was Jane, not the Nation; the cognitive dissonance was ticklish, if not jarring. I looked closer—what social ill drove these denim-clad beauties to take to...

  8. 3 Pranks, Rumors, Hoaxes: “Dressing Up” and Folding as Rhetorical Action
    (pp. 73-109)

    In the third essay ofOn the Genealogy of Morals,Nietzsche argues that the ascetic ideal, the resentful nay-saying of the first order, “has at present only one kind of real enemy capable ofharmingit: the comedians of this ideal—for they arouse mistrust of it.”¹ Unlike the ascetic, with whom we can affiliate the negative critics described in chapter 2, the comedian is uninterested in “bringing the people to consciousness” as if she can use her comedy to expose the Truth or push the limits of power until they reveal their true logic. These are the goals of...

  9. Intermezzo: A Sequel
    (pp. 110-112)

    In the early stages of this project on contemporary protest rhetoric, the United States was teetering on the brink of “war” with Iraq. I knew that long before these textual musings would ever see the light of day, this country would have violently invaded a sovereign nation and the television personalities of CNN would never utter such unfashionable words as “occupation” and “imperialism” (both so twentieth century) in their reports. After all, we live in the society of the post ,do we not? But, despite my misgivings about this war, and they are vast, the strategies of resistance historically deployed...

  10. 4 Pirates and Hijackers: Creative Publics and the Politics of “Owned Culture”
    (pp. 113-132)

    Whether they came to it with theoretical/conceptual models in mind, or organically from personal experience, a generation of “appropriation artists” is seeing its preferred style of rhetorical invention hit the mainstream, although not without signifi cant legal controversy. Legal scholar William Landes describes appropriation art thus:

    Appropriation art borrows images from popular culture, advertising, the mass media, other artists and elsewhere, and incorporates them into new works of art. Often the artist’s technical skills are less important than his conceptual ability to place images in different settings and,thereby,change their meaning, Appropriation art has been commonly described ‘as getting the hand...

  11. 5 Inventing Publics: Kairos and Intellectual Property Law
    (pp. 133-155)

    If the pirate-as-hero model tends to perpetuate (however unwittingly) the very notion of property and individual authorship it seeks to challenge, then it is worth considering approaches to the consumption-invention dilemma for which “the public” does not depend on discrete pieces of cultural turf. One area within humanities scholarship where this approach is being explored is through a rethinking of the public as less a Habermasian “sphere” that must be protected from the invasive tentacles of the marketplace, than as “publics” as multiple and fluctuating bodies made possible through the circulation of texts. One prominent theorist of this approach is...

  12. Conclusion: From Private Rights to Common Goods: OurSpace as a Creative Commons
    (pp. 156-166)

    How then, should we envision today’s “consuming publics”? Has public life been reduced to little more than a scintillating barrage of lifestyle choices? Are our connections to one another nothing but thin and fickle demographic categories we might share? Are we just publics who consume? Or, worse, have the dictates of markets so successfully turned us into mere consumers that anything like citizenship has been obliterated—rendering “our space” obsolete? That is, has postindustrial capitalism, with its tendency to turn products into brands and brands into the vernacular of everyday life,consumed publics? I have argued that a vision that...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 167-186)
  14. Index
    (pp. 187-190)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 191-191)