Essay #1: Consumer Artifact Analysis
Essential Components of the Consumer Artifact Analysis
The artifact you choose should be an actual physical object.
Your essay must include a minimum of 3 quality outside sources, correctly cited using MLA citation guidelines.
Your final draft will be uploaded to Canvas by 11:59 on the due date.
Your final draft must be at least 1200 words (roughly 4-5 double-spaced pages).
Your essay should be formatted according to MLA formatting guidelines (see below).
Descriiption: The United States is a consumer-driven economy. As such, American culture is represented and influenced by the things we consume. These artifacts of consumption have gone beyond simply performing a function or satisfying a need. They represent and even impact what we do, what we think, and who we are: as individuals, as communities, and as a society. Moreover, people in consumer societies use their possessions to communicate with one another. Sonia Maasik and Jack Soloman, authors of Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers, argue “…our possessions aren’t simply objects, they’re signs—from the out-and-out status symbols whose purpose is to convey your place in the social hierarchy, to the clothes you wear, the music you listen to, and even the smartphone you choose to buy…” (68). As such, these artifacts of consumption are full of cultural significance and meaning just waiting to be analyzed.
For this first essay, you will write a thesis-driven essay that focuses on the social and/or cultural significance of a consumer artifact within America’s consumer culture. You will start with a semiotic analysis of that artifact, which you will generate through pre-writing. In reading the introduction to Signs of Life, “Popular Signs: Everything You Always Knew about American Culture (but Nobody Asked)” and the introduction to the first chapter “Consuming Passions: The Culture of American Consumption,” we can see how an astute analysis of such an artifact can lead to an understanding of an artifact’s social or cultural significance within American popular culture (skinny jeans, for example) and how such an analysis can tell us something about ourselves and the society in which we live. When choosing a topic, remember that you are to analyze some actual physical object (package of food, article of clothing, piece of technology, etc.) and that the object should have enough social or cultural significance on which to write a 4-5 page paper (1200 words).
**I’ve attached what I’ve written and submitted to my professor so far, please use the rough draft as a base! Thank you!**