in the face of

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Blue Apple

Senior Member
Persian (Iran)
HI. I know "in the face of" usually means "in spite of", but in the following context it seems to mean more like "in a background of" and "within". Is my understanding right?

For Steinbach, it is not so much the object itself that is the problem but our relation to it. In substituting mass-produced objects for art objects, Steinbach and Koons call attention to the artwork as commodity, suggesting that the relationship that people have with consumer products is analogous to their relationship with art. Here, we are not so far away from the thoughts of British cultural theorist Raymond Williams, who saw advertising as a magic system which had developed in the face of ‘a cultural pattern in which objects are not enough but must be validated, if only in fantasy, by association with social and personal meanings which in a different cultural pattern might be more directly available’ (Art and Advertising by Joan Gibbons).
  • QuasiTriestino

    Senior Member
    American English
    In a very general way, in the face of X means while X is occurring.

    In this sense, the sentence is saying that advertising was developed during a time when objects had to be associated with particular meaning.
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