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Iconic Consciousness

According to Alexander iconic consciousness occurs when an aesthetically shaped materiality signifies social value. Contact with this aesthetic surface whether by sight, smell, taste, touch provides a sensual experience that transmits meaning. In contradistinction with various sociologies of culture that have tended to see the visual or the material as a form of falsity or degradation, Alexander draws on the Durkheimian notion of the symbolic collective representation to argue that the ways in which culture operates both instilling and recreating values is intrinsically tied to symbolic material forms.

The studies have extended the idea of iconic consciousness into the realm of celebrities on the one hand present an appealing aesthetic surface and on the other hand condense and convey a locus of deep meanings that resonate with the audience.