A Disease of Purchase: Consumerism Culture and Comic Books

dc.contributor.advisor Lavery, David en_US
dc.contributor.author McKenna, Lawrence E. en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Hixon, Martha en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember McCluskey, Peter en_US
dc.contributor.department English en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2014-12-19T19:00:03Z
dc.date.available 2014-12-19T19:00:03Z
dc.date.issued 2014-09-14 en_US
dc.description.abstract ABSTRACT en_US
dc.description.abstract "[T]he new medical system . . . emerged to protect the public and state from epidemics that threatened the economic system." - Kelly Tian, et. al, "Transforming Health Care" en_US
dc.description.abstract This study will fulfill a task that scholars David Kunzle and Aaron Meskin called for in their studies of the comic book genre. It will answer their call to historicize the comic book and thereby more thoroughly define what is integral to the definition of comics. This study will show that the history of the comic book represents a criminal type of consumerism that is reflected in all salient aspects of the genre. This study supports the notion that a history of corruption resulting from criminal activities and a pathological obsession with consumerism are the two key elements that define the genre. These criminal consumerist elements continue to infect the industry still today, and the harmful consequences of these elements will be investigated; this study determines that antidotes to this sickness are empathetic advocacy narratives as well as other characteristics most cogently exhibited by the works of Alan Moore. en_US
dc.description.abstract The introductory chapter will review prior scholarship that has attempted to define the comic book genre. Branching off from prior understanding of the genre, this study will extend beyond prior definitions by historicizing the comic book instead of focusing only on aesthetic and narrative aspects of the genre. It will reestablish the importance of a Marxist social morality, and will explicate the ways that comic books display and utilize such politicization by commenting upon topical societal concerns. en_US
dc.description.abstract The second chapter will argue against the claims put forth by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green in Spreadable Media. The authors' signature claim is the belief that users of media are now forming what they call participants who have been empowered through their use of digital technologies and can, therefore, force the corporate world to acknowledge them and cooperate with them. A practical and grounded study of contemporary consumerism is presented to illustrate that users of media have simply turned digital technologies into another marketplace and that corporations have not deviated from former practices. en_US
dc.description.abstract The third chapter will prove that the crime comic is the quintessential comic book subgenre because it surfaces from a need to reflect the industry's criminal origins. Crime comics continue to perpetuate a gangster ethos in contemporary comic books. Primarily, this chapter is informed by Michel Foucault's theories of archaeologies of language and nonaccidental omissions. Using these theories, this section will show how the comic industry produces texts of prevarication to distance the industry from its criminal origins. Current industry trends will be investigated to bring to light the ways that the comic industry continues to commit criminal and highly unethical acts. en_US
dc.description.abstract en_US
dc.description.abstract The fourth chapter will present the ideas of Alan Moore as a corrective to the predominant narrative and business trends found in comics. Based on Moore's morally informed worldview, this study will thoroughly examine how his narratives are fictional constructs of empathy, advocacy, and connectedness. Moore's philosophical system of psychogeography will be used as a filter to study his works. Moore's abstention from current and historical industry practices will present a context for his view that the comic book genre is inherently anarchist, a term he defines as the creation of empathetic narratives of personal responsibility. en_US
dc.description.abstract The conclusion will contend that future studies must use the criminal consumerism definition of the genre to study other time periods in comic book history. It will call for further studies of works like Alan Moore's that are empathetic liberation narratives that counter the comic book cliche of a dichotomous worldview. en_US
dc.description.degree Ph.D. en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://jewlscholar.mtsu.edu/handle/mtsu/4324
dc.publisher Middle Tennessee State University en_US
dc.subject Alan Moore en_US
dc.subject Comic Book History en_US
dc.subject Comic Books en_US
dc.subject Consumerism en_US
dc.subject Gangster Ethic en_US
dc.subject Spreadable Media en_US
dc.subject.umi Literature en_US
dc.subject.umi Language arts en_US
dc.subject.umi Multimedia en_US
dc.thesis.degreegrantor Middle Tennessee State University en_US
dc.thesis.degreelevel Doctoral en_US
dc.title A Disease of Purchase: Consumerism Culture and Comic Books en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
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