Complete Story


Fall 2002, pages 5-27

Joe's Rhetoric: Finding Authenticity at Starbucks

Abstract: In this essay, I explore the materiality of rhetoric through a close analysis of one Starbucks coffee shop. Starbucks' rhetoric works to suture individual bodies and subjectivities into a seemingly natural world through the practices of production and consumption of coffee and through the use of "natural" colors, shapes and materials. This turn to nature is augmented by a claim to authenticity made by the coffee itself and is further reinforced by the rituals surrounding the buying and drinking of coffee. These rituals provide sanctifying performances that strive to cover the sins of postmodern consumer culture.

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