“Introducing Cultural Studies” By B. Longhurs Sample Essay

The space surrounding people, in every diversified meaning of the word “space”, can be considered topographically non-uniformed. There are rises, overcoming which demands exponentially increasing efforts. Along with these rises each following step demands greater expenses – forces, time, energy, mind or simply material resources. During any moment of such rise, there is a situation when it is impossible to go further and at this point of balance the person stops. The set of similar points, beyond which it is impossible to advance, forms the human horizon, and the same points shape the definiteness of human culture. The culture, first of all, is a memory of human activities’ past, along with the stages of development of these activities. Human institutions were begotten not only by logic, but also by history, and the borders of the stages of history have arisen, first of all, because human activities have come upon the limits of their capabilities diversified by geography as a matter of place. In this context, this paper addresses the mutual relation between space, place and culture, according to the analysis of the book “Introducing Cultural Studies”(Longhurst et al., 2008) which states that geography of culture is an important aspect of culture which cannot be understood outside the spaces it marks out along with providing certain issues that should be considered in the so-called cultural geography.

In “Introducing Cultural Studies”, specifically in chapter five, the concept of cultural geography was introduced. The main idea of the chapter is to present an overview provided with examples and studies from other works on how geography as a space and place shaped the culture throughout history. The author provides an analysis of the concept of the new cultural geography through three basic positions:

  • Cultural geography is a study of how meanings made by people relate to questions of space, place and landscape as a result of the interaction.
  • Cultural geography is concerned about who made these meanings which are of power and resistance.
  • Cultural geography is concerned about how these meanings are represented.

The previous positions were analyzed through the chapter by applying them to different forms such as landscape representation, national identity and orientalism, using concepts such as discourse – the frameworks that define the possibilities of knowledge, as a set of rules which determine what criteria for the truth are.” (p.120)

The overview of cultural geography as a study of propositions and analysis of points of criticism had concluded that interpretations through cultural geography “renewed the sense of the importance of questions of space and place across cultural studies.” (p.139)

The key argument stated by the author is that the question of representation presented within the three basic propositions of the “new” cultural geography, has been the basis of many works which studied meaning and power investigating spaces, places and landscapes. These studies made assumptions that were questioned in terms of material culture and nature. (p. 110)

The authors provide support that cultural geography is not a matter only of static places, but also a matter of mobility where it would develop a different “geography of culture that is one of the networks, webs and journeys rather than of places, territories and fixed positions.”(p.125) The author delivers the arguments of James Clifford who states that geography, as well as anthropology, has been “far more concerned with ‘dwelling’ than with traveling”, and thus a large portion of studies have been missed. Another issue in cultural geography is the missing of other activities when focused on representation. “Cultural geographers are increasingly interested in questions of emotion and affect; in neglected senses such

as smell, taste and hearing; in theatre and dance; and in everyday movements, gestures and practices.” (p.132) The last issue with the new cultural geography is the required return to analyze the interaction between people and the material world, as a matter of “meaningful relationships between people”. (p.135)

Cultural geography has presented as vital aspects in other works which address similar issues, where there is an agreement that some of the aspects were missed and other traditionally centered. “For ‘the most penetrating criticisms of traditional cultural geography have centered on its neglect of issues examined habitually by [other] social scientists’, including questions of power, inequality, gender, class, and race. (Jackson 1994, p.25) In terms of mobility Sibley provides arguments stating that “there are now many ‘non-places’ solely associated with the accelerated flow of people and goods around the world that do not act as localized sites for the celebration of ‘real’ cultures”(Sibley, 2003).

A distinction between place and space, terms that were somewhat interchangeably used in “In traducing cultural studies”, were defined where place is more of a face-to-face encounters and space is marked by the relations between absent others (Barker and Willis, 2003.  Additionally the role of landscapes as key factor in studying cultural geography is focused merely as background in the analyzed book is supported in other works. Sauer, for instance, appealed to the idea of geography initially as “configurations of land and life” (Crang, 1998), thus the idea of interaction in the new cultural geography could be related to that matter. In assessing the idea of space in “Cultural Geography a Critical introduction”, geography along with cultural studies, “stresses space, understanding culture to be constituted through space and as space”(Mitchell, 2003).

It could be seen that the ideas presented in “Introducing Cultural Studies” are mainly concerned with issues that of criticism, related to the ‘new’ cultural geography, where in doing so the author provided arguments that support his criticism. However, it could be seen that mainly the aspect of geography with key elements of space and place where mostly reduced to cultural issues. Nevertheless, the work presented an extensive overview of the theoretical background of this field, which can be used mostly in the context of culture rather than cultural geography. It could be said that until the present time, a generally accepted definition of cultural geography has not been presented, moreover, a departure from clarification of subject to listing main question and themes could be witnessed.

References

  1. BARKER, C. & WILLIS, P. (2003) Cultural Studies, SAGE.
  2. CRANG, M. (1998) Cultural Geography, Routledge.
  3. Jackson, P. (1994) Maps of Meaning: An Introduction to Cultural Geography. New York: Routledge.
  4. LONGHURST, B., BAGNALL, G., SMITH, G., CRAWFORD, G., MCCRACKEN, S., OGBORN, M. & BALDWIN, E. (2008) Topographies of Culture: Geography, Meaning and Power. Introducing Cultural Studies. Pearson Education.
  5. LEWIS, J. (2002) Cultural Studies: The Basics, Sage.
  6. MITCHELL, D. (2003) Cultural Geography a Critical Introduction, Blackwell Publishing.
  7. SIBLEY, D. (2003) Cultural Geography: A Critical Dictionary of Key Ideas, I.B.Tauris.

ABC Company: Cash Flow Performance

Executive Summary

As on jan1, 2007 ABC had paid up capital of $100m and $10m as retained earnings. ABC planned well and enhanced the total equity to a level of $190m by the end of Dec. 31, 2007. The company raised capital during the year as well as operational profits were remarkable. All these achievements have been very well reflected through cash flow statement of the company. In fact a cash flow statement is the mirror of activities relating operating, financing, and investing of the company.

Findings

  • Operational profits of $67m resulted into net cash inflow of $ 143m, and that is a pretty good performance.
  • The company has invested in fresh plant and machinery and that is why there was net outflow of $113m on account of investing activities.
  • The company distributed last year dividend and liquidated some loans to the tune of $30m, but inflow of fresh capital provided a net $14 cash in flow from financing activities.

Opening balance Sheet as at January 1, 2007

ABC had assets worth $150m of book value. The company’s current assts were enough to cover current liabilities. Though long term loans were around $50m, but capital and reserves of $110m were enough to carry on operation in an efficient way.

Operating Profits

The company sold old machinery though at loss, but new plant and machinery really worked well for the company. The operating profits were to the tune of $67m. But cash flow statement revealed that actual cash flow from operating activities was $147m. This was resulted even when receivables got reduced as on Dec 31, 2007 when compared to opening balances.

Investing Activities

The company purchased fixed assets with an outflow of $115m. Sale of old machinery provided only $2m of cash. One can say mostly raised capital during the year was used to strengthen the fixed assets position of the company. Though only $50m were used from additional capital raised during the year, the balance amount used for fixed assets came from operating results and reserves of the company.

Financing Activities

The company paid dividend of $6m as declared in last year. Bonds to the tune of $30m were liquidated during the year. In nutshell the company had a cash outflow of $113m on account of financing activities.

Reflection in Cash Flow statement

All the three activities, namely operational, investing, and financing have been ably reflected in cash flow statements. There were contributions from operating activities and financing activities. But investing activity had a cash outflow of $113m mainly because of investments in assets. In fact investments in assets brought good operational profits.

Conclusion

Cash flow statement describes the way company functioned during the period. ABC was very active on all the three fronts, namely operational, investing, and financing activities. The result was a net increase of $29m in cash flow. This provides a healthy picture of ABC as at Dec.31, 2007.

Oriental Organic Garments Company’s Marketing Plan

Executive Summary

The Oriental Organic Garments is a garment manufacturing company in London. It is engaged in production of garments from 100% organically grown cotton. For exploiting the increasing trend of organic cotton garments among the consumer segments in UK, the company aims to follow appropriate marketing and financial strategies. The firm’s business goal is to create a brand image of high quality product at low rate through appropriate business strategy and thus achieve customer- loyalty for their product.

Topical Headings

In this module the topics discussed are marketing strategies, strategy overview, mission, marketing objectives, financial objectives, target markets and positioning.

Marketing Strategies

The Oriental Organic Garments Company produces 100% pure organic cotton garments. For the marketing of its products, the company aims to start its own retail units across UK. The products are ranging from T-shirts for men and women.

For entering into a highly competitive market like the garment market, a well planned marketing strategy is essential. Fluctuating customer needs and keen competition by rival firms imposes more pressures on marketing. Appropriate marketing strategy is essential for achieving customer satisfaction in a continuously changing business environment. The sensitivity of identifying the external market environment and sustainable competitive advantages for the firm is important factors that help to formulate the marketing strategy. Anticipating the competitor’s actions is the key determinant of success of a marketing strategy.

The marketing strategy followed by the Oriental Organic Garments is as below:

  • TV promotions;
  • Developing own websites;
  • Fashion magazines.

In case of garment products the adoption of TV promotions is an appropriate technique as it helps to present the unique designs of the brand in time for attracting the customers. Most of the customers are influenced by TV adds for their product selection. By developing own websites the business will get a prestige. Through website they can able to inform the customers about their product features. The introduction of new designs on products can be easily transmitted to the customers through its website. Fashion magazines should also adopt for the presentation of unique designs of the firm’s products.

Through the application of strict cost control techniques on entire production process, the company aims to reduce the cost of production at its lower level. The quality of products is ensured through appropriate quality measurement techniques at all stages of production. Thus it ensures that only standardized quality products are send out for marketing. Company aims to create a brand image of high quality products at competitive prices for its products for creating brand loyalty among different customer groups. Industry and competition are crucial factors that influence strategic choice. The rivalry among existing firms, threat of entrants, threat of substitutes, bargaining power of buyers, bargaining power of suppliers also should be analyzed for taking strategic decisions.

Customer satisfaction is a significant factor of profitability of any business. For getting sustainable profit growth customer loyalty is essential. “Provision of customer service is a good way to achieve greater customer retention which will provide higher profitability to the business.“

Strategy Overview

For ensuring continuous market growth, timely modification of policies according to changing environment is prescribed by the company. The company estimates that with the products made up of 100% purely cotton, it should attain good market share in the garment manufacturing industry.

The key trend in garment industry is continuous change in customer needs and habits. Thus firms are involved in continuous innovation and restructuring of their business.

Due to the scarcity issues relating to water, cotton, and skilled labor resources for the garment production, the firms follow “consolidation and relocation strategies” for existence.

Due to these changing trends in garment industry, strategy overview with continuous changes in policies is followed by the company according to the environmental changes.

Mission

The mission of the company is to provide good quality organic garments at low rates to customers. They aim to create a brand image of high quality organic garments at economical rate for their product. It aims to achieve market leadership within the next five years. Through customer satisfaction its object is to become a prominent organic cotton retailer in the UK.

Marketing Objectives

Customer satisfaction is the key element for achieving growth in garment industry. Customers always attracted to quality products at reasonable rate. Thus the company aims to produce quality products at least cost. Appropriate pricing policy also followed for placing it in the competitive garment market. The pricing of products is done by taking into account the expectations of customers. For getting market acceptance at the initial stage of marketing low price should be charged with least profit content. Better after-sale customer support also arranged for solving customer complaints in time. Sales personnel should be selected and trained properly for canvassing different types of customers. Customer satisfaction experience has a great effort on achieving customer loyalty. The “growth, profitability” , and market value of a business is depends on its customer relations.

Product differentiation can be introduced by applying various color, design and graphics on products. For achieving customer satisfaction, the firm provides chance for them to incorporate their ideas on the products. The firm also assures that only limited number of production on a particular design in order to reduce too many similar items.

“Product differentiation” is essential for existing in a competitive market. Business firms always require making differentiation in their product for retaining their customers. “Product differentiation” is a key factor that affects the buying decision of customers.

For influencing the purchase decisions of customers the outlet units are designed with appropriate planning. Techniques such as outside signs, window displays, counter pieces, display racks etc are arranged for attracting customers. It is followed for the fact that 2/3 of purchasing decisions of customers are made in the stores and thus outlet designing is also very important.

Financial Objectives

The long term financial objective of Oriental Organic Garments is to attain a market share of 33 % within next five years. On the short term basis it aims to achieve break even sales at the end of the financial year with continuous growth in sales with reducing cost of production. For achieving improvement in financial performance the business needs to fix its financial targets. Through the timely measurement of financial performance the strength and weakness of business in meeting its financial goals can be analyzed. Setting up of clear cut financial objectives is essential for measuring improvement in financial performance of the business. Accurate financial strategy should be followed for achieving the business objectives. “Weekly or monthly “based observation of financial performance is necessary for meeting performance targets. The measurement will provide valuable information on financial performance and thus corrective action can be taken in time.

The Oriental Garments aims to get profitable growth through appropriate cost control techniques. For this proper financial planning has made on a monthly basis. Business targets are initially fixed and efforts are made to reach the target. Thus the firm can ensure the timely growth of the business. The required financial resources for the business are collected from comparatively low cost sources such as banks and other financial institutions under government control.

Pricing strategy. For creating the brand image of low priced product appropriate pricing policy should be followed. This type of brand image limits the company’s product’s price to a lower level. They aimed at reducing the operation cost through the application of various cost control techniques. Thus they can achieve the goal of creating the brand image of low priced and quality goods.

Cost saving strategy. For attaining the proposed brand image of the product, Oriental Garments has required to adopt strict cost control techniques in all levels of the business. The production and marketing should be done in cheapest ways. They also undertake total quality management techniques such as operational control, performance gap analysis and bench marking to ensure the quality of the product at low cost. :

Target Markets

The target market of Oriental Garments is customers within the age group of 15 to 30 years where among them the trend for organic garments is increasing. A wide range of products such as casual wear, formal wear, sports and swimwear, garments for winter and party wear are manufactured by them.

From the market research it derived that the organic products are already exist in the market. Sale of organic cotton garments have been growing at the rate of 50 %. This increasing trend will be helpful for the growth of Oriental Garments. But due to the growing trend, competition in this field will also growing. In order to overcome keen competition in the industry low, medium and high priced products will have to be produced. This pricing differentiation should be based on designs of the products and not on the basis of its quality.

Target markets involve the ideal selection of segments of the market for the particular product. Along with the “attractiveness of the market segment”, its suitability with the objectives, resources and capabilities of the firm also has to be taken into account before selecting the target market. The Size, growth rate, intensity of competition, brand loyalty of existing customers, the advantages for getting market share, the promotional expenditures of rival firms in the segment, etc has to be considered when selecting the market segments.

Positioning

For getting entry and exist in a competitive market like the garment market creation of a better brand image is necessary. Thus the brand image of low price, high quality organic garment for the Oriental Garments will help firm to attain loyalty customers. In the garment market the price of the product is an important matter influencing the customer’s buying decision. Customers always compete with the industry by forcing down the prices, bargaining for higher quality products at lower price. The firm’s effort to produce high quality goods at low cost will be helpful for attaining continuous market growth.

References

Quick MBA, Marketing, Marketing Strategy. 2008. Web.

Customer Satisfaction – a Critical Component of Profitability, Customer satisfaction by Vadim Kotelnikov. 2008. Web.

Pricing in the Global Garment Industry by Nina Ascoly. 2008. Web.

High Performance and the Customer Experience, Customer Satisfaction in the Changing Global Economy. 2008. Web.

Product Differentiation Helps You Build Competitive Advantage by more – for small business. 2008. Web.

Improving financial performance through clear objectives. 2008. Web.

Target market Selection, Marketing by NetMBA. 2008. Web.

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