Labour as Chronotope: Happy Tomorrow Discourse in Narrative Advertising

Labour as Chronotope: Happy Tomorrow Discourse in Narrative Advertising

Hasan Turgut (Ondokuz Mayis University, Turkey) and Merve Turgut (Istanbul University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2373-4.ch016
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Transformation in capitalist relations of production has come to such a state that living spaces are becoming precarious and this ontological insecurity is shaking the faith in institutions. Media strives to restore the faith in institutions in order to renew the faith of the masses in this process by carrying out the perception and image management that are needed. In this context, capitalist institutions in advertisements are shown as the unique addressee in overcoming aforementioned precarity. It is aimed to make the masses forget about the bonds that these institutions have with capitalism by showing the institutions in advertisements in such a way that they are tried to be identified by their appreciation of the labour. Labour, as a chronotope, presents narratives that sanctity and appreciation are palpable in the identities of these institutions. Based on this claim, the chronotopic elements of three bank advertisements in Turkey are aimed to be ascertained and “sancity of labour” narrative which is composed of chronotopic elements will be analyzed in this study.
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Mikhail Bakhtin's “chronotope” concept which he's borrowed from Einstein's relativity theory and brought into literary world highlights the inseparability of time and space. Space makes the abstract time become palpable and as Bakhtin (2001, p. 316) underlines that chronotopes “...always hold the traces of certain emotions and values”. Bakhtin states that in literary texts the “road” chronotope becomes the place of the emotional ties that have been aimed to awake in a reader by deriving encounters. Chronotopes are the organizing centers for the fundamental narrative events of the novel. These centers are the embodiments of the representations of the interrelations in the novel.

In the literary artistic chronotope, spatial and temporal indicators are fused into one carefully thought-out, concrete whole Time, as it were, thickens, takes on flesh, becomes artistically visible; likewise, space becomes charged and responsible to the movements of time, plot and history. This intersection of axes and fusion of indicators characterizes the artistic chronotope. (Bakhtin, 1992, p. 84)

Bakhtin exemplifies the chronotope usage of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. While Dostoevski doesn't like to prolong the process of time, Tolstoy likes the feeling of time. Tolstoy frequently uses the nature chronotope, family idyll and labour idyll (descriptions of peasant labour) (Bakhtin, 1992, pp. 248-249). Undoubtedly, Dostoevski and Tolstoy' chronotope usages in literary texts cannot be considered out of the time and place that they are embedded in. In this context, the chronotope is not just something that embodies abstract time through spatial determinations, but it's also correlating the relation of the time and space that the novel or the work has been written.

In addition to this, chronotope concept shouldn't be just limited to literature and art. Chronotope, as an organizing center for the fundamental narrative events, is in the center of narrative advertising in parallel to the formal transformation of the advertisements. The advertisements, which would be used as publicity just to inform people about the product, have transformed in terms of form and content with the technological advances. Particularly with the evolution of the internettechnology, advertisements have been loaded with narrative texts in which lifestyles are much more presented than the product. Even though advertising industry owes its ontological status to the schizophrenic internalization of consumption, it should highlight the partial satisfaction moments that are necessary for maintaining this schizophrenic need for consumption. The product to be bought is claimed to be the best product in the market and it is promised that when the consumer buys it, he/she will never need anything more but this satisfaction is temporal. What spoils this magical satisfaction moment is the introduction of another similar product or a newer version of the same product with the same discourse.

One of the chronotopes of the “happy tomorrow” discourse, which solidifies the ontological status of the absolute dissatisfaction and becomes palpable in advertisements used in the determinations, is “labour chronotope”. In this study, how labour power chronotope is approached in narrative advertising will be analzyed. It's possible to say that it's framed with an entitled time and space relationship by putting forward the advertising activities which are embedded into capitalist axiom, and happy tomorrow discourse that is preferred in the ads, and the purity and sanctity and value of the labour power. This hypothesis is aimed to be proven through the advertisements of three leading banks in Turkey (Turkiye Is Bankasi, Vakifbank and Finansbank) by tracking down the labour power chronotope.



Labour power, the total material and spiritual effort made in order to complete an assignment, has been sanctified as a “virtue” in various discourses throughout history. Labour power as a virtue, is an act that requires hardwork and devotion, and is the source of “fair” income that one needs so as to live on. The holiness of labour power was highlighted in religious texts, furthermore by mentioning the prophets having jobs, the holiness of labour power was materialized in the lives and actions of holy men. Undoubtedly, not only in religious texts but also various forms of labour power that enable the survival of men have been referred to as something holy since ancient times. In settlements, emerged especially with the development in agriculture, labour intensive production provided the products that were needed to maintain their lives and established a direct bond between labour and life.

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