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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Social sciences, Sociology


Drawing from an Eliasian perspective we examine how an ‘advertising subjectivity’ became more firmly embedded within the bourgeois habitus. We explain how and why advertising slowly developed and expanded within a commercial organization despite initial opposition, ambivalence and even hostility from some of its bourgeois senior management towards the practice – the very social class sometimes identified with advertising’s origins and advance. Our empirical case is based on Arthur Guinness & Sons Ltd, the Irish company which came to be renowned for the alcohol beverage which carried its name – Guinness stout. We explain how the development of advertising was impelled by a series of processes that increasingly interlocked; a widening and intensification of competitive commercial interdependencies; a shift in the power balance between the bourgeoisie and aristocracy in favour of the former in Britain; and by a changing consumer habitus in several different nation-states. Central though, as we illustrate, was a process involving the changing power relation between various social classes in Britain – principally the increasing power chances of bourgeoisie in relation to the aristocracy – a process that had advanced considerably by the turn of the twentieth century.


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