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Mass Moralizing

Marketing and Moral Storytelling

Phil Hopkins

Mass Moralizing: Marketing and Moral Storytelling examines the narratives of today’s brand marketing, which largely focuses on creating an emotional attachment to a brand rather than directly promoting a product’s qualities or features. Phil Hopkins explores these narratives’ influence on how we think about ourselves and our moral possibilities, our cultural ideas about morality, and our relations to each other. He closely studies the relationship between three interrelated dynamics: the power of narrative in the construction of identity and world, the truth-telling pretenses of mass marketing, and the growth of moralizing as the primary moral discourse practice in contemporary consumer culture. Mass Moralizing scrutinizes the way marketing speaks to us in explicitly moralistic terms, significantly influencing how we think about ourselves and our moral possibilities. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 258Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-8851-4 • Hardback • April 2015 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-1-4985-1357-9 • Paperback • March 2017 • $46.99 • (£31.95)
978-0-7391-8852-1 • eBook • April 2015 • $43.99 • (£29.95)
Phil Hopkins is professor of philosophy at Southwestern University.
Chapter One: The Stories We Tell
Chapter Two: Truth-Telling Narratives
Chapter Three: Spectacle: The Ontology of Image
Chapter Four: Tribes: Hyperrealized and Mythical Belonging
Chapter Five: The Good Life
Chapter Six: Morality for Sale
Chapter Seven: Morality as Consumption
Chapter Eight: Morality as Propaganda
The media and marketing tell stories about how we should live and what we should do. In this elegant, accessible, and engaging discussion, Phil Hopkins shows what this means and why it is important. He makes us think again about the media, morality, and, ultimately, ourselves. This is a very significant book.
Keith Tester, University of Hull

Hopkins' book bridges the gap between the reality construction empirical work done that is typical of mass media research and the philosophical scholarship about popular culture by offering a cogent analysis of advertising from a philosophical perspective. Through a phenomenological reading of commercial narratives the book attempts – and often succeeds – in revealing the moralist values that are intentionally hidden in promotional texts. I recommend this book without reservations to anyone who is interested in the academic study of advertising content.
Amir Hetsroni, Ariel University

Drawing from sources as diverse as Plato, Marshal McLuhan, and McDonald's, Mass Moralizing makes the intriguing case that contemporary marketing has moved beyond merely selling commodities and now seeks to turn our values themselves into commodities. It sheds light on a subtle but important new concern about the ever-shrinking difference between human values and consumer values.
David Schwartz, Randolph College