Explore the Idea a Consumer Society Is a Divided Society

Topics: Sociology, Social class, Consumerism Pages: 3 (1303 words) Published: May 15, 2013
This essay will explore the notion that a consumer society is a divided society. By using the information presented in the making social lives booklet it is hoped this essay will present itself clearly in its dialogue offering concise points of discussion relevant to the topic at hand. This essay will look at what consumer society is, how it evolved and why society might be considered consumerist also at how different members of society consume and why these things contribute to the opinion of divisions within a consumer society. Social historians could argue that the idea a of consumer society started as far back as the late 1800s.It was department stores that brought consumer culture to the masses. The first purpose built department store was erected in France in 1869, the Bon Marche. This was the first occasion where many goods that would have previously been sold in separate shops were all under the same roof. This trend found its way to the UK, but unlike the purpose built store in Paris, they grew organically from grocers, drapers or indoor markets. This was a period of mass production where Items could be produced on industrial scale and moved in large quantities around the country, driving down the price of goods and allowing a wider section of society to take part in consuming, although still not the poor. The social scientist Veblen observed that people were buying things to raise their social standings by demonstrating to others their ability to consume and setting an impression to the rest of society (Veblen cited in Hetherington, 2009, P26). It has been a common thought by social scientists that the social identity in the UK should be considered industrial and defined by class. However, this social identity started to shift throughout the 1980s. During this period Social scientist would talk about a post-industrial society where traditional manufacturing industries started to disappear. This lead to changes in the working class communities, more...
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