Weaving a web: Subaltern consumers, rising consumer culture, and television

Rohit Varman, Russell W. Belk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Cultivation analysis suggests that television influences local cultures through its complex repertoire of images and narratives, which constitute a representation. Through a discursive analysis of television content in India we contend that rising material aspirations and consumer culture are significantly influenced by this medium. Dialectics of turmoil and tranquility mark this development for the working class population. On the one hand, there is domestication of unrest among subaltern groups, as they withdraw from collective political struggles to narrower and more tranquil forms of emulation and economism. On the other hand, these attempts at emulation have resulted in the poorer sections of society devoting their limited resources to aping a lifestyle well beyond their reach and further compromising their quality of life. The other pole of the dialectic is the increase in turmoil that results from tearing the traditional social fabric and support systems. This turmoil progressively manifests itself in increasing materialism and greater monetization of relationships for these subaltern groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-252
Number of pages26
JournalMarketing Theory
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • consumer culture
  • cultivation analysis
  • subaltern consumption
  • television

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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