Expressing the Self through Greeting Card Sentiment: Working Theories of Authentic Communication in a Commercial Form
As mass produced vehicles of sentiment, greeting cards draw attention to the use of socially constructed codes for communicating, even feeling, emotion. This paper describes the results of interviews with fifty-one greeting card consumers, focusing on what makes greeting cards ‘personal’ for them, despite their mass-produced nature. Consumers negotiate their relationships with pre-printed sentiments differently depending on whether their allegiance is stronger to an expressive individualist understanding of authenticity or a ritual perspective, and these allegiances tend to reflect cultural capital. Specifically, suspicion of pre-printed sentiments is common among people with higher cultural capital, while this is the feature of greeting cards that is most important to other greeting card consumers. I argue that scholars should avoid taking an expressive individualist understanding of authenticity as a standard against which we evaluate mass culture and its consumption.
Emily West. "Expressing the Self through Greeting Card Sentiment: Working Theories of Authentic Communication in a Commercial Form" International Journal of Cultural Studies 13.5 (2010): 451-469.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/emily_west/15