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Consumer ChroniclesCultures of Consumption in Modern French Literature$
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David H. Walker

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781846314872

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317156

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Managing the Consumers (1): Motivational Analysts

Managing the Consumers (1): Motivational Analysts

(p.241) 14 Managing the Consumers (1): Motivational Analysts
Consumer Chronicles
Liverpool University Press

In Georges Perec's 1965 novel Les Choses, the protagonists acquire names only in Chapter 3 after they become employed as ‘psychosociologues’. In this capacity, they carry out ‘études de motivation’ or motivational studies whereby they analyse public's attitudes to products at a subconscious or unconscious level. The aims and methods of motivational analysis were exposed by Vance Packard in The Hidden Persuaders, while its ominous implications were denounced by Gustave Le Clézio in Les Géants. The protagonists' acquisition of their own names is connected to buying fashionable product names and brand names in named shops. In a consumer society, identity and brand identity are closely related. Les Choses tackles the problem of self-fulfilment in a mass society driven by commerce and consumption.

Keywords:   Georges Perec, Les Choses, psychosociologues, motivational studies, Vance Packard, brand identity, consumer society, commerce, consumption, identity

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