Meaning and Value in Commercial Culture

Tuesday 19 March, 2013
6:30pm, $0

School of Visual Arts, Design Criticism
136 West 21 Street, Floor 2

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Meaning is one of the greatest sources of economic value and one of the least respected. Explanations of why people buy things “they don’t need” tend to fall back on stories of status signaling or simple delusion. But actual motives and meanings are much more complicated and interesting, and their results more dynamic and unpredictable. Drawing on her work in The Substance of Styleand her forthcoming book The Power of Glamour, author and critic Virginia Postrel will look at what we can learn about our culture and ourselves by taking meaning seriously as a source of economic value. Virginia Postrel is an author, columnist, and speaker whose work spans a broad range of topics, from social science to fashion. She describes her work as “intellectual arbitrage”—synthesizing, analyzing, and communicating ideas from many different fields in an original and accessible way, usually with focus on culture and commerce. Postrel is the author ofThe Substance of Style (2003) and The Future and Its Enemies (1998). She is writing a book on glamour, to be published in Fall 2013 by Simon & Schuster, and is a regular columnist for the Bloomberg View division of Bloomberg.com.

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