Author: MOROZ A.S.

Communicology. 2016. v.4, n.3
MOROZ Alexandra Sergeevna – graduate at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Abstract: George Ritzer outlined a something vs. nothing dichotomy, implying the emergence of a different type of reality lacking substantial meaning. Obvious when applied to professions and places, this opposition demands additional analysis in case of human bodies. The author characterizes modern symbolic consumption using the approach of Ritzer. Symbols become the independent consumption goal, thus «nothing-body» is achieved through centrally produced standards of «perfect body». These standards force people to modify their actual bodies to fit into superficial categories, maintained through grobalization (global sample distribution to gain profits). Plastic surgery and mental health issues are the result of this attempts to «fit in». Internet, though, does not require actual changes in physical body, permitting to create a virtual «copy» of oneself, modified to one’s own preference. While still reflecting the existing social structure on microlevel, Internet provides individuals with customizable self-presentation spaces, partially contributing to the creation of «nothing-bodies». Internet and social networks suppose the choice of face through selfies, as well as give opportunity to choose gender, medically ascribed in real-life daily practices. Nevertheless, although these spaces possess every quality of «nothing» and «mcdonaldization» as a new type of rationality, there still is a human dimension to them. Applying the nothing vs. something approach to human body needs additional empirical evidence.
Otherwise there may be a confusion between intensified symbolical consumption and the actual creation of «nothing-body».

Keywords: G. Ritzer, nothing vs. something, Internet, symbolic consumption, mcdonaldization, gender

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