Discuss the Role of the Concepts of the Seduced and the Repressed for Understanding the Place of Consumption in Contemporary Consumer Society + Essay Plan

Topics: Sociology, Conspicuous consumption, Social status Pages: 5 (1604 words) Published: October 12, 2010
1. Short introduction to the essay.
2. Definition of consumption.
a) Historical background
3. Definition of concept of seduced and repressed society.
4. Place of consumption in contemporary consumer society.
5. Examples how both seduced and repressed lives interlink with consumption. 6. Different motives for shopping.
a) Everyday shopping for essentials
b) Non-essential shopping:
i) Luxurious or upgraded products, like expensive food
ii) Luxurious goods and services like holidays, boats, and private jets. 7. Concepts of lifestyle and status.
8. Conspicuous consumption and how it relates to people’s lives and vice versa. 9. It’s not what it looks like: different approaches to consumption among individuals 10. Strengths and weaknesses of Bauman’s model.

11. How exactly does Bauman’s model help to understand consumption? 12. Limitations of Bauman’s theory.
a) What can be done differently?
b) Are any other theories helpful to make this analysis complete? 13. Summary.

Ever since people discovered trade and moved away from self-sufficient model of household, consumption was taking place. Starting as a barter economy of exchanged goods, it changed through years to consumption that no longer concerns only bare necessities of life. Consumption in its simplest meaning is process of obtaining, in most cases by purchasing, products or services. However, the whole process of consumption concerns stage of choosing which product and where to purchase as well as the usage of the product/service like wearing an item on clothing. Since consumption process varies from being essential to provide us with means to live to spectacular shopping sprees of the rich and famous, sociologist were investigating the subject with great interest. There are many theories offering explanations of why and how consumption works for individuals. One of those theories is concept of Zygmunt Bauman. His model of the seduced and the repressed divides the society into two groups. Bauman argues that those two groups of consumer society represent different classes of people. The seduced are active customers who are participating in society by consuming new products and services and therefore are “included”. Most important description of the seduced is the fact that they have means (most often surplus income, but they could also inherit money) to consume and therefore obtain high status. The repressed are the opposite of the seduced. They are limited by low income or unemployment and therefore are unable to consume as much as the first group. They are excluded from the consumer society because of their low status and are discriminated against. This could be seen through them being unable to go to out-of-town large shopping centres as they do not own a car to get enable them getting there. The repressed may become as such because of number of reasons, from being on low wages, by being disabled to being a ethnic minority and migrant to a country. With two different groups of consumers identified, how do we place consumption in contemporary society? Bauman offers a suggestions that they way we perceive it depends on which group we belong to. It also affects how much pleasure and benefits we gain from consumption. For example, the seduced society is not limited in their freedom to choose from various products from all ranges as well as services like holidays and pampering treatments. The seduced can shop from all “shelves”, that is they can buy cheaper products if they wish to. Market therefore offers the seduced more advantages when it comes to the whole process, starting from the choosing to variety of places they can purchase the goods. The repressed, on the other side, are limited by their incomes or lack of them and their choices are poor. They are going to make their decisions by taking deciding on best value to quantity ratio, which means they are more likely to be limited to places that offer products this type. The repressed are unable...
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