• Ujwal Arkalgud

There’s politics in everything, whether we like it or not

We often find organizations avoiding the topic of politics. The reasons, of course, are obvious - they’re terrified to upset a portion of their buyers, or pigeonhole themselves as a certain “type” of company or brand.

The challenge is that in today’s culture, everything is about politics. In fact, it’s unfair for me to put this just on “today’s culture”. The idea that there’s a political economy in culture isn’t new. Bourdieu, in particular, is well known for studying and documenting the interconnection between culture and politics. Bourdieu, for example, captured the idea that you could attain two forms of symbolic capital (status in simple terms) - one that’s bestowed upon you by structure (you’re born into a wealthy/well-known family), and the other that’s a result of specific skills or notoriety gained. Both forms of capital ultimately go towards giving you symbolic power, over others in society.

This connection between culture and politics is strong today and can be easily evidenced by examining the meanings that consumers create around some of the most simple products on the market. Take yogurt for example. The act of making yogurt at home, especially for your children, is a classic example of one’s distrust in governmental and regulatory bodies and the need to take back the feeling of control (over one’s family’s health). Another example lies in anti-aging skincare. Increasingly it’s associated with conservative values, and oppressive social structures (one where women have to work hard to “maintain” their looks in order to be worthy of their position).

While Bourdieu may have understood the idea of the political economy of culture many decades ago, it is really in today’s environment (with hundreds of thousands of subcultures, products, and solutions) that this idea is easily validated because one no longer has to go looking for the proof points.

They’re present everywhere.

So if you haven’t considered the politics behind your industry, we would certainly urge you to because it’s affecting how people buy and the kind of symbolic capital (status) they expect to get out of buying your products.

Copyright © 2018 MotivIndex Inc. For our privacy policy, click here.