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Best Laid PlansCultural Entropy and the Unraveling of Aids Media Campaigns$
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Terence E. McDonnell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226382012

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226382296.001.0001

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(p.189) Conclusion
Best Laid Plans

Terence E. McDonnell

University of Chicago Press

The book concludes by explaining how cultural entropy systematically undermines the effectiveness of these AIDS campaigns and other modern interventions. It place the various mechanisms of entropy demonstrated throughout the book into conversation with each other, showing how they interact to amplify these disruptive effects. I discuss a success case of condom advertising but demonstrate how powerful campaigns can also lead to cultural entropy in the broader field. I then extend these insights beyond health communication to consider how cultural entropy explains other failures to use culture instrumentally by organizations in the developed world, specifically nation branding and media coverage of social movement activism. The chapter suggests how health communication could work with rather than against cultural entropy. Ultimately, cultural entropy offers new ways of thinking about culture and communication that emphasizes materiality, interaction, contingency, dynamism and flow.

Keywords:   cultural entropy, branding, social movements, failure, materiality, cultural power, field theory, advertising

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