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Exploration and Analysis of the French

"Anti-Pub" movement. Illustrate your essay with specific examples.

1. Introduction

This dissertation is an investigation of the anti-pub (short for publicité or advertising) movement in France. The movement's roots are discussed and considered in regard of a number of twentieth century concerns, including fears of subliminal advertising published in the 1950s in America. Continental anxieties over consumerism and advertising culture relevant to the anti-pub movement span the Frankfurt School, the Russian Revolution, and of course the protests of May 1968 in France itself. Debord and the Atelier Populaire, with their critique of the image, are in a direct relation to the anti-pub movement's concerns. How France is actually also home to a bourgeoisie celebrated for its consumer desires is noted, so as to indicate France has long been divided in politics over issues of consumption, especially over luxury items.

I then discuss specific groups, actions and means associated with the anti-pub movement, with recourse to material and photographs given in appendices. Reactions from state and corporate bodies are also assessed, along with an assessment of the success or not of the movement.

Symbolic violence now may actually help consolidate a French society increasingly divided between the unbranded and the branded, as recent social unrest in 2005 on housing estates (les banlieue) throughout France demonstrated. If the anti-pub movement is still predominantly white, it raises and organises a grassroots voice against corporate-colonisation, in the name of all France. The grassroots nature of its local organisations may be its greatest achievement, above even successes in the field of advertising, if those too are important for demonstrating the people have a voice independent of corporate interests.

Finally, it may be put the anti-pub 'voice' written on defaced advertising has, along with convergent forms of resistance especially in North America, been inspired by a history of French radicalism in art and protest. This is a voice designed to 'jam' the cultural machinery of relentless corporate expansion in the minds of French citizens. The anti-pub movement is using vandalism as a form of graphed language, for expressing a submerged voice of dissent against corporate colonisation, or a triumphant economic racism.

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