Topics: Sociology, Thorstein Veblen, Conspicuous consumption Pages: 3 (1161 words) Published: January 28, 2013
Write an essay that outlines the view that a consumer society is a divided society. Consuming plays a very important part in making and re-making our society. Over the years, we have learnt how to express our personalities and image through consuming. It provides us with a sense of belonging, as well as being able to create jobs, and means of living. We live in a society that depends a lot on consumer spending, in order to maintain a stable and economic environment. Nowadays, many people are able to spend money beyond necessities, and consume more luxurious products. However, we must remember that not everyone can consume equally- one person's necessity may be another person's luxury. There are two very important concepts that will be used throughout this essay : status and power. Through these concepts, I will outline the ways in which a consumer society is a divided society. The success of a consumer society depends on the amount of disposable income within it. The amount of money we make plays a big part in what we can buy,what we wear and how we can express ourselves through consuming. The American sociologist, Thorstein Veblen (1899) produced a theory that outlines the view that those people of the nineteenth century who could participate fully in consumer society, or had recently aquired wealth, would display their expensive items around their home in order to gain character and a higher status. He believed they would have used this method in order that their friends or visitors would physically see the extent of their social belonging and security through what they could afford. In relation to this, Zygmunt Bauman (1988) furthered this theory by suggesting that we no longer live in an industrial society, but a consumer society. Just like the industrial society prior, the more recent consumer society is unequal. He discussed that society could be roughly split into two main groups: the "Seduced" and the "Repressed". Those who can consume freely, and in...
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