I know you are probably wondering ‘what has this got to do with anything?!‘ But after attending one of my Modern Gothic lectures the other day and hearing what they had to say about Dracula I felt the need to share it with you all.
Monsters, vampires, werewolves and all of the other fictional creatures were created to identify the fears/anxiety’s of the time periods they were written in. This is knows as social anxiety theory – ‘whereby a particular fictional villan signifies a dissonant threat to an established social order‘(R1). So for 19th Century Britain, it was imagined that they feared heterogeneity and change. In other words they feared outsiders coming in and changing their cultural representations and manipulating it to create or introduce their own culture. From these fears Dracula was created, a foreign none-human outsider who no one knows anything about (highlighting the fear of the unknown). But what we do know is that he is a Vampire, a consumer of blood who then turns his victims into consumers. He is directed and compelled by invisible longings to consume. Once he has, his previously terrified and innocently unaware victim becomes a consumer too.
You’re still probably thinking ‘how does this links to business at all?’, well let me explain it too you the same way this got explained to me in my lecture. Dracula, as mentioned above is a consumer who makes others a consumer too, a bit like a trend setter. He introduces something new and at first people are all unsure and dismiss it for it is not the norm, yet after a period of time they begin to follow like a sheep. Before long everyone is a follower and a consumer, just like him.
This can be seen throughout the Dracula novel. For example, several forms of modern communication methods and inventions are introduced in the text: telegraphs, train travel, phonograph/recorded diary keeping, shorthand diary keeping, blood transfusion, telegrams, the idea of science over religion. At this time in society these were extremely modern aspects that many people were either unsure of and therefore dismissed or were unaware of. Therefore, through highlighting them in the text it bring them to the attention of the reader and encourages them to start thinking about these new aspects. Not only that, the author goes one step further and basically shows the reader their future through the characters in the book. Bram Stoker indicates that whoever interacts with Dracula tin the novel, no matter how much they resist, they eventually give in and become a consumer, just like him. This was how the consumerism theory (R2) was put to me in Gothic format.
So basically, if Dracula was here in the present it would have been him to introduce the selfie and like many of us all have, we would have all complained about it for what? 5 minutes before we happily hopped on the band wagon.
I hope you found this an interesting alternative to regular business theories and enjoyed the read. Please comment if you have any questions or opinions, I would love to hear what you have to say.
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R1 = Nicholas Daly in Language Science and Popular Fiction in the Victorian Fin-de-Siècle. Book link