Outline the Nature of Supermarket Power on the High Street and Beyond.

Topics: Sociology, High Street, Hypermarket Pages: 5 (1545 words) Published: May 8, 2013
Outline the nature of supermarket power on the high street and beyond. Plan
Paragraph One
‘Outline’ – to define the nature of supermarkets and summarise the power they have over consumer society. Supermarket power – summarise the major supermarkets in the uk High street – identify the effects on local shops i.e groceries Beyond – how this affects the world

Explain my objective and how I’m going to answer the question. Main body of the essay
Paragraph Two
Discuss Bauman’s argument about the seduced and repressed and how this is a part of the supermarket power. Seduced, being able to take part in consumer society and repressed is seen as not able to. Supermarket power allows the repressed to take part. Paragraph Three

Peter Jackson’s study on consuming which links to Bauman’s seduced and repressed Paragraph Four
Concepts ‘zero-sum power’ and ‘positive-sum power’
* Dennis Wrong (1997) uses zero-sum and positive-sum game. * Zero-sum game – supermarkets gain more than the high street and factories, supermarkets gain is at their expense * Positive-sum game- consumer society and supermarkets both gain by supermarkets dominant position Paragraph Five

* Patrick opposing to the gain of supermarket power and Linwood sees the gain from superstore development * Anti-supermarket campaigners.
Paragraph Six
To conclude the discussion and ensure the argument has been put across, in regards to the question. Outline the nature of supermarket power on the high street and beyond. Power of the supermarkets in the UK and worldwide is growing more due to consumer society. The biggest four supermarkets account for around ¾ of the market in the United Kingdom. I will be discussing ideas from Zygmunt Bauman, Peter Jackson, Dennis Wrong and the developments throughout the United Kingdom. In addition I will be explaining the idea of seduced and repressed, as well as zero-sum game and positive-sum game. I will be referring to the dominance of supermarkets among the high street, the factories and farms in which the products come from. In 1988, Zygment Bauman gave the terms seduced and repressed as an explanation of the consumer society. He believes that we now live in a consumer society not an industrial society, ‘people in contemporary Western societies can be broadly divided into two groups’ (Making Social Lives page 25). The idea that the seduced could take part in consumer society, as they had enough money to buy luxuries i.e. the employed. On the other hand, the repressed was seen as not in a position to spend their money on luxuries, i.e. the unemployed, migrants or chronically sick. He believed this was the way our identities were created by what we purchase. Using this idea, supermarket chains are using their power to give cheaper prices than high street stores, to allow the ‘repressed’ to be involved in consumer society and create their identities. This question is raised by Bauman’s theory, ‘Who are the winners and losers in a consumer society?’ (Learning Companion Two, page 11). By the evidence given in both books, you could suggest the seduced being winners and the repressed being losers, due to the seduced being able to buy luxuries from the high street. However, when you look at the supermarkets dominance, the repressed are also winners as they are able to buy the same products as the seduced but at a reasonable price. Furthermore, the high street local shops would be seen as the losers and the supermarket has power over the market and selling the same products as deals, attracting consumer society. In the mid 1990’s Peter Jackson carried out a study in North London to explain why shopping malls and retail parks were so popular. The research came back as the people feeling safe, and the buildings being convenient and modern. Whereas, the street was seen as a place of disorder and crime, a place not safe for families to...

Bibliography: Hetherington, K. (2009) ‘Consumer society? Shopping, consumption and social science’, in Taylor, S., Hinchchliffe, S., Clarke, J. and Bromley, S. (eds) Making Social Lives, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
Allen, J. (2009) ‘One-stop shopping: the power of supermarkets’, in Taylor, S., Hinchchliffe, S., Clarke, J. and Bromley, S. (eds) Making Social Lives, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
Staples, M., Meegan, J., Jeffries, E. and Bromley, S. (2009) Learning Companion 2, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
Self Reflection
What have you particularly enjoyed so far in studying this module?
What have you found challenging?
I have enjoyed learning about how supermarkets affect our choices and how they also affect the local shops on the high streets. I have found creating the essay plan challenging as I have never created one before. However, I found the online activity useful for this.
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