THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The new ‘middle class’ is marked by an individual’s capacity to consume global iconic objects, an internationally renowned sociologist has opined. Jefferey Alexander from Yale University in the US was speaking at the valedictory session of golden jubilee celebrations of the Department of Sociology, University of Kerala, here on Friday. According to Alexander, new capitalism is characterised by producing those goods that satisfy consumer needs.
Presenting a paper on ‘Iconic Objects & the New Middle Class’, Alexander spoke of the emergence of a new middle class throughout the world. The academic said material objects have now changed themselves into branded items. “Capitalism is successful in creating a world of fantasy from the world of necessities. Contemporary capitalism is theoretically based on consumption habits in that sense,” he noted. To become a middle class member, one need not become a producer anymore, but only a customer.
Multinational companies, particularly from the first world countries, are catering to first level customers who are purchasing these iconic material objects. The global iconic objects which give a status to its owner such as Apple and Samsung ensure a sense of ‘inclusion’ to their holders. Kerala University Vice- Chancellor V P Mahadevan Pillai presided. Ajayakumar P P, pro vice-chancellor; P K B Nayar, founding Head of Department of Sociology; Indu Kumari, former Head of the Department; Jessy George, president of the alumni association; and Pushpam, former Head of the Department of Sociology; were present at the function held at the Senate Chamber.