Examining the Role of Technology in Consumer’s Society

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In a world where technology plays a vital role in our every day lives, we often forget the simpler times that existed. Portable debit machines have replaced the human transaction between the merchant and buyer, sending emails online have replaced sending hand written letters by snail mail, and game consoles have replaced playing on jungle gyms. Undoubtedly, technology has made its mark in the world since the 19th century industrial revolution. It connects the world, facilitates millions of transactions, and is an integral part of learning and sharing knowledge, thanks to the World Wide Web. But we cannot go without saying that with technology comes social consequences as well. In consumer’s society, Sharon Zukin argues that shopping is a natural part of everyday life. (2004) Alison J. Pugh would argue that parents shop for their kids so they can help them achieve a sense of belonging in their peer groups. In this paper, I will discuss how various forms of consumption, such as online shopping, and parents buying toys, (particularly electronic games) for their kids, have contributed a shift from a collective society to one that perpetuations alienation and isolation.

Until we began to shop electronically in the 1990s, we believed that it would make shopping easier. The idea of browsing through a vast array of online stores in the comfort of your own home and buying material goods with online payments seems both alluring and convenient. Zukin argues that the personal interaction between the buyer and seller was once an intimate and genuine experience. She describes the time when she would frequently shop at the farmers’ market in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. To be able to pick up cheese from the table with her fingers and engage in bargaining, not because it was expensive, but because these things all added to the “ur-experience of shopping.” (Zukin, 2004) This type of genuine shopping experience is lost in a modern society, as technology has oftentimes...
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