Communication, Consumption, and Civil Society: Media and Politics at the Checkout Line

Event Date: 

Friday, April 5, 2013 - 1:00pm

Event Location: 

  • SSMS 1009

Dhavan Shah

Scholars in various fields have theorized connections between communication, consumption, and civil society. Whether Bourdieu's attention to the social positioning of taste or Schor's concerns about commercialization, overconsumption and disengagement, the media are often implicated in consumer culture dynamics.  Countering claims that product-saturated mass media simply diminish civic-mindedness, this research explores the ways in which mass communication practices shape and structure the consumer-citizen, redefining political participation at the intersection of consumer and civic culture. Analyses center on exposure to news and entertainment consumption, online expression, and campaign communications.

Dhavan V. Shah is the Louis A. & Mary E. Maier-Bascom Professor at the University of Wisconsin, where he is Director of the Mass Communication Research Center (MCRC) and Scientific Director in the Center for Health Enhancement System Studies (CHESS).  Shah’s research focuses on the effects of information and communication technologies on social judgments, civic engagement, and health management. He has developed three major lines of inquiry: (1) the influence of message framing and processing on decision-making and opinion formation; (2) the capacity of mass and interpersonal communication, especially online networks, to encourage civic engagement, political participation, and political consumption; and (3) the effects of computer-mediated interactions, both the provision and reception of social support, on the management of cancer, aging, and addiction.