Commodity of the Icon

Background Reasearch into the Fetishism of Commodity. This will be used as context for my argument that architecture is a commodity with differing values based on socal context, and demand. These effect different aspects of architecture such as architectural thought and stylistic progression. 

Subjective experience that comes from the consumer and the commodity

Commodity can be any useful thing that has been made availible for exchange with other commodities through the use of human labor this can be Goods or services their vaule is determined by social exchange and context. 

"A commodity is... a mysterious thing, simply because in it the social character of fmen's labour appears to them as an objective character stamped upon the product of that labour"


  • Its all about social relationships
    • The ability to give relative value or importance to a commodity changes the determination of its vaule
  • commodity has utility
    • satisfies a need
  • Use value is due to exchange value
    • money
    • it was produced for consumption 
  • Division of labor
    • if everyone grows wheat then there is no reason for exchange 
    • people produce wheat and shirts you can trade wheat for shirts
  • Exchange values
    • How much wheat for how many shirts
    • everything has a vaule
      • everyone and everything has a price
      • nature has a price
    • everything is for sale 
    • everything is production for exchange vaules
  • money is the common factor
    • money is the abstraction of human labor
  • Related to a general demand, general labor
    • a shirt now can be worthless when style changes

Social interpretation of commodity in our society and our relationship with goods and services. 

Why starbucks over anything else?

  • class symbol
  • willing to spend the money on something thats "good"
  • universality
  • value in corporate logo
  • consistency
  • "normal taste"
  • its everywhere
  • getting rid of small competiors not an issue

Commodity as it relates to architecture

"More decisively than in the other arts or media, postmodernist positions in architecture have been inseparable from an implacable critique of architectural high modernism and of Frank Lloyd Wright or the so-called international style (Le Corbusier, Mies, etc), where formal criticism and analaysis (of the high-modernist transformation of the building into a virtual sculpture, or monumental "duck," as Robert Venturi puts it), are at one with reconsiderations on the level of urbanism and of the aesthetic institution. 
What has happened is that aesthetic production today has become integrated into commodity production generally: the frantic economic urgency of producing fresh waves of ever more novel-seeming goods (from clothing to aeroplanes), at ever greater rates of turnover, now assigns an increasingly essential structural function and position to aesthetic innovation and experimentation. 

Fredric Jameson

  • Architecture is directly connected to economics
    • land values
    • commissions