Consumer society gives people choice. Discuss this claim.

Topics: Game theory, Sociology, Consumer Pages: 6 (2091 words) Published: October 13, 2013

Consumer society gives people choice. Discuss this claim.

Introduction: - Explain what the term consumer society means quote Hetherington (2009) “That has become characterized by what it consumes rather than what is made” Clarify consumer society. Explain how different from industrial society. Outline will be discussing Bauman (1988) concept of Seduced and repressed and Susman (2003) slightly opposing view that gives limited choice and covers personality etc. Will discuss Supermarket monopoly, zero sum and positive sum game and will also touch upon Sustainability and waste to show implications of mass consumption.

Discuss = explain, and then give any other sides of the issue and any implications. Main Body
Point 1: - (Seduced and Repressed)
Briefly explain seduced and repressed then discuss how Bauman believes seduced consume effectively and have choice to consume but are seduced into consumption, so is this choice? How repressed can’t partake due to finances etc. and have no choice (Quotes from page 27) and discuss the points. Then explain Susman consuming to reflect personality and particular lifestyle (Quote from page 43). Discuss this is slightly opposing view as this gives limited choice as opposed to Bauman.

Point 2: - (Monopoly)
Briefly explain Monopoly (Page 72 quote) - Quote quantative figures of supermarket share (Page 77) Discuss if there is something of monopoly how cans consumers have choice. (Example of qualative evidence from interview on audiovisual “evidence in social science” big supermarkets not using local in season produce) Discuss closure of local businesses “hollowing out of high street so choice disappearing there. Then use pro supermarkets examples of more choice as can get out of season stock etc. (page 68 and 69).

Point 3: - (Zero sum and Positive sum game)
Explain concept briefly (quote page 70 Dennis Wrong) Look at sweatshop workers and the price of cheap goods discuss if this is positive or zero sum game ... Look at how two opposing towns view on the opening of Tesco’s Linwood and Patrick how one thinks there is positive sum game where everyone benefits and the other thinks zero sum game and only Tesco’s benefits (Page 63)… Table 2( page 93) pro and anti-supermarket lobbies. Sustainability i.e. restriction due to transport etc ( Page 11 Learning companion 2.)

Point 4: - Sustainability- Waste
Small paragraph to touch upon sustainability of a consumer society and if we continue to consume at same rate with the same amount of rubbish and waste we won’t be able to sustain it. (Quote defra figures from page 117) and explain the figures and discuss the implications if society does not improve its consumer and waste habits.

Consolidate what has been said in main body and conclude that from the theorist’s state it shows that a consumer society may have limited choice but this may change in future especially with the earth sustainability issues so choice may be limited even more.

Word count: - Do not include headers or titles or the plan.
References: - Make sure all references are correct and present i.e. if direct quote of the theorist or if a quote from making social lives. Self-reflection:- what I enjoyed and what I found hard with this essay.

Consumer society gives people choice. Discuss this claim.

Consumer society is a society “That has become characterised by what it consumes rather than what is made” (Hetherington, 2009, p.22). This is different from the industrial society before it, where you were identified by your job and only the wealthy consumed effectively. In this assignment I will be discussing consumer society and choices we have within it. Firstly, I use Zygmunt Bauman’s (1988) theory of “Seduced and Repressed” (Hetherington, 2009, p.25). The theory shows us; consumer society doesn’t give us many choices because we are seduced into consuming or we are repressed and unable to consume. Warren...

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.
Brown, V. (2009), Rubbish society: affluence, waste and values in Taylor,S., Hinchcliffe, S,. Clarke, J. and Bromley, S. (eds) Making Social Lives, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
Competition Commissions (2008) Groceries Market Investigation:Final report [online], (Accessed 20 January 2009)
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs(Defra) (2007), e-Digest Environment Statistics: Municipal Waste Management Statistics 2006/7, [online], (accessed 20 November 2008)
‘Evidence in the social sciences’ (2009) Making social lives, [Audio CD 1], Milton Keynes, The Open University.
Hetherington,K. (2009), Consumer society? Shopping, consuming and social sciences in Taylor,S., Hinchcliffe, S,. Clarke, J. and Bromley, S. (eds) Making Social Lives, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
Office for National Statistics(ONS) (2008b) Social Trends 38, Basingstoke and NY, Palgrave Macmillan; also online at (accessed 21 November 2008
Staples, M., Meegan, J., Jeffries, E. and Bromley, S. (2009), Learning Companion 2, Introducing the social sciences, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
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