The Affections that Whole Foods Is Transmitting

12497871_14743894352758_rid6Most folks at MCC should have read a number of scholarly articles on consumer culture. As a result, we tend to be more conscious of or even more resistant to the making of consumer culture than the average American citizens. This difference in attitude is led by different learning experiences in the past. Over time, as our impression as enhanced, we have become accustomed to this trained awareness of consumer culture. The reluctance of participation in consumer culture becomes natural and intuitive. When encountering the same subject matter-the consumer culture in this case-disparate collective learning experiences as well as individual growth memories are aroused, hence leading to different connection thoughts and emotions. This could relate to philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattar’s rhizome structuralism, “The issue is to produce the unconscious, and with it new statements, different desires: the rhizome is precisely the production of the unconscious. (Deleuze and Guattari, 18)”. This case serves as an instance of how knowledge repeatedly transmitted to us can alter our ideology subconsciously.

In article “Transmission of Affect”, author Teresa Brennan further expands the physiological phenomena of the transmission of affect. According to Brennan, affects are material, physiological things that happen when “the ‘Atmosphere’ or the environment literally gets into the individual” (Brennan, 1). It can be called a transmission when a person’s or one group’s nervous and hormonal systems are brought into alignment with another’s (Brennan, 7). The marketing rhetorics at Whole Foods can be viewed as an explicit articulation of the transmission of affect.


While GMO foodstuff is banned in many countries in Europe, the regulations on GMO foodstuff seems feeble in the U.S. While issues like GMO foods and hormone feeding like have only emerged for few years, many people including myself remain skeptical to the subject matter. With the green decorations, overspread slogans containing “healthy lifestyles”, Whole Foods created itself a public image of selling “organic” and healthy foodstuff at comparably high prices in comparison with traditional supermarkets such as Walmart and K Marts. With such “organic” meaning embedde, no wonder that Whole Foods drew tremendous surprises when it released an article in 2013 stating that GMO labeling would be fully installed by 2018.

Nonetheless, language is not the only communicative media for transmitting affection. While researching on food politics in contemporary America, it is almost inevitable for one to come across thread posts and campaigns praising Whole Foods market. Regardless of the tedious statements on how Whole Foods sells “organic” and better foodstuff, one review on Yelp immediately draws my attention, “fruit at places like Jewel and Caputos don’t smell at all–that’s weird. The fruits at whole foods smell really really good. I think that’s what you’re smelling–fresh produce turn that wasn’t frozen on the delivery truck” (Yelp). It is seen that smell serves as a “chemical entrainment”, an “unconscious-olfaction” that can transmit positive affect to the customers entering into the markets. Brennan suggests that “smell is critical in how we “feel the atmosphere” or how we pick up on or react to another’s depression when there is no conversation or visual signal through which that information might be conveyed” (Brennan, 8).






~ by xz849iris on February 20, 2017.

6 Responses to “The Affections that Whole Foods Is Transmitting”

  1. Thinking – Incorporated interdisciplinary concepts from affect theory as well as media studies (consumer culture). Also connected biological aspect of affect transmission, which is very apt for the discussion at hand—food.

  2. I felt like I learned a lot from this- as someone who especially shops at Whole Foods a lot, and is conscious about my food choices, etc. this really captured my attention and got me thinking.

  3. Most engaging. You have articulated the idea about consumer culture and its affect very clearly. You have also well connected it to the readings. And with pictures, I found this blog most engaging.

  4. I think that this is strong in Thinking/Learning. There were a lot of interesting references to information learned throughout both our time in this course as well as outside of it through the MCC department. I think it was very strong.

  5. This was the most engaging piece for me because it is weird to think that we don’t really know what we are literally consuming but we think its “good” for us. The pictures were a bright and cheery touch. The readings were well integrated.

  6. I thought it is really strong in thinking. I learnt a lot in this ecology at Whole Food about food choices and the post also connects well with the reading.

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