Consumer Society

Topics: Sociology / Pages: 7 (1521 words) / Published: Feb 7th, 2013
TMA-02 P1

Outline who are the winners and losers in a consumer society .

A consumer society is a society which is defined as much by what people buy and use as by how they are employed. There has been a gradual change in Britain since the Victorian era from a society defined by class to a society like today defined by consumption. In a consumer society however there are those who benefit from it, the ‘winners’, and those who do not, the ‘ losers’.
Consumption is more than purchasing goods to satisfy basic needs such as food and clothing. It is an activity that people take part in to establish themselves as individuals and to show self-expression, as well as identifying themselves as being part of a particular social group. This idea is part of the sociologist Thorstein Veblen theory of ‘conspicuous consumption’ .
The social scientist Zygmunt Bauman ( Material lives ,2009 ,p.25) defines people in a consumer society as either ‘ seduced ‘ or ‘ repressed ‘. Those in the ‘seduced’ category are seen as been able to participate effectively in a consumer society, and therefore are considered ‘winners’ . The ’seduced’ consumer has a positive identity. They conform to the ideals of this particular group as they have the financial means to take part fully in a consumer society. The ‘seduced’ are generally in full time employment which then gives them the means to be able to purchase the goods and services necessary for social inclusion. Mobile phone, transport and internet access are all important as tools which facilitate social inclusion. Wearing the right brand or sporting the right logo identifies someone as belonging to a particular social group. Modern society is geared towards facilitating the seduced in their quest for consumption. Credit is more available than ever before, many adverts on U.K. television offer the perfect car or kitchen with a payment plan to suit all needs. Having a large



References: Allen .J (2009) ‘one stop shopping : the power of the supermarkets ‘ in Taylor, S ., Hinchliffe , S. , Clarke , J . and Bromley , S . (eds) Making Social Lives , Milton Keynes , The Open University . Bauman , Z. (1988) Freedom , Milton Keynes , Open University Press . Brown , V. (2009) ‘rubbish society : affluence , waste and values ‘ in Taylor, S. ,Hinchliffe , S . ,Clarke , J . and Bromley , S. (eds) Making Social Lives , Milton Keynes , The Open University . Global Footprint Network (2008a) Brown , V. (2009) ‘ rubbish society : affluence , waste and values ‘ in Taylor, S. ,Hinchliffe , S . ,Clarke , J . and Bromley , S. (eds) Making Social Lives , Milton Keynes , The Open University . Hetherington . K (2009) ‘ Consumer society ? Shopping , consumption and social science’ in in Taylor, S ., Hinchliffe , S. , Clarke , J . and Bromley , S . (eds) Making Social Lives , Milton Keynes , The Open University .

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