Winners and Losers in Consumer Society

Topics: Sociology, Conspicuous consumption, Open University Pages: 6 (1829 words) Published: February 20, 2011
Essay Plan for Shannon Mack
TMA 02: Outline who the Winners and Losers are in Consumer Society

Material needing to be referenced and read:

* Learning Companion 2
* Chapters 1, 2 and 3 of ‘Making Social Lives’
* Assignment Booklet pages 18 to 20
* CD/DVD’s:
* Preparing for Assignments – Developing Skills Audio CD * Evidence in the Social Sciences – Audio CD 1
* Rubbish Society – Audio CD 1
* Making connections: economics and politics – Making connections Audio CD * Reflections on Material Lives – Audio CD 1

Specific References:

* Allen, J. (2009) ‘One-stop shopping: the power of supermarkets’ in Taylor, S., Hinchcliffe, S., Clarke, J. and Bromley, S (eds) Making Social Lives, Milton Keynes, The Open University. * Bauman, Z. (1988) Freedom, Milton Keynes, Open University Press. * Susman, W. (2003) Culture as History, Washington, DC, Smithsonian Books. * Veblen, T. (1899) The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study in the Evolution of Institutions, New York, Macmillan. * Wrong, D. (1997) Power: Its Forms, Bases and Uses, New Brunswick, NJ, and London, Transaction Publishers * Bevan, J. (2006) Trolley Wars: The Battle of the Supermarkets, London, Profile Books. * Rimmer, H. (2009) Friends of the Earth, Online Activity 9, Open University Website

Essay Layout

Explain the definition of Consumer Society and outline what I would like to achieve in this essay.

Paragraph 1:
The ‘seduced’ and the repressed using the example of a Retail Park

Paragraph 2:
Veblen and Sussman – Conspicuous consumption and performing-self

Paragraph 3:
Buying power of Supermarkets and the demise of the small shop

Paragraph 4:
Zero-Sum and Positive-Sum Game.

Outline what has been discussed and draw a conclusion

Ensure correct referencing format is adhered to and make sure that all short references are noted (as long references)

Write 50 words on my thoughts surrounding this essay and the topic as per the guidelines in Assignment Booklet

Name:Shannon Mack (B0832044)

Question:Outline who the Winners and Losers are in Consumer Society

Word count:1317

Consumer Society is a term used to describe what and how much people use, purchase and consume. Consumption is in the form of goods, services and experiences. In modern society, consumption is viewed more importantly than what people do for a living, as it was in the past where we lived in a more Industrial Society (Bauman, Z., 1988, p25). People tend to create their identity by what they buy, where they buy it, how much of it they purchase and how this all fits in to what the media, friends, family, colleagues and peers are consuming. Shopping has become extremely important in the daily lives of society whereby we no longer shop to meet the basic requirements of our physical needs such as food, warmth and shelter. We now shop to enhance our lives both in the view of ourselves and the view of others. How people perceive us and what ‘group’ we fit in to has become a fixation in the current times for society. There are however winners and losers in Consumer Society in that some people gain from the importance of consumption and others experience pain as a result. In this essay I will outline these two groups and explain the reasons why there is such a distinct difference.

Bauman, Z. (1988) suggested that there is a division between people in Western society. They are referred to as the seduced and the repressed. The ‘seduced’ group refers to consumer society where people have the basic financial means to purchase items beyond the basic necessities of life. They do not necessarily have to be in the higher earning bracket of society, but they are employed and they have a consistent flow of cash and credit. The repressed group are generally not in full time employment, have massive amounts of debt and are unable...
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