We are what we buy
Ryan (Shizhe Ruan) 9067614 We live in a modern world where full of mass consumption, after industrial revolutions, the new technology allowed productive forces to be improved significantly as the development of history. Companies gained the ability to quickly produce a great deal of material items. In order to make profits via these products or services they offered, they persuade people to purchase them by adopting different marketing means. As a result of technologically and financially prosperity, and of course the marketing force, a material consumption culture had been created and we can simply argue that we cannot live without consumption nowadays, it is not only about buying of what we need, its influence had extended to the identities of our-self due to that the power of marketing allows consumers to gain the signs of success, achievement, prosperity and so on, through their consumptions. Actually, we not only construct our identities based on what we purchased, but we use others’ consumption to infer their identities. So how exactly the consumption can be part of our identities? From the point of views of consumers, they find that the sphere of consumption becomes more wide-ranging and greater in terms of freedom and control, thus they are willing to construct “meaning ”in their life over consumption experiences .( A. Firat and Nikhilesh Dholakia, 1998, 129p ). The meaning attached to the products that they bought represent the identities for themself , consumers use the certain qualities contained in the products to send the message to others that they also own these qualities, meanwhile, they use these messages that they receive every day to simply infer the identities of others as well. Therefore, it is undeniable that there is a close relationship between self-identity and consumption. “This views of self-identity is very new”, says Professor Campbell, who set out his opinions about consumption and self-identity in a paper to a conference in Sweden.( http://www.theguardian.com/education/2002/dec/19/highereducation.uk2 accessed by 27-11-13)No longer do people tend to define themself and judge others by occupation, religion, family or the contributions they made to the community, but by their taste, in other words, by the consumption they made to find what they are. Professor Campbell said that the older generations, like our parents or grandparents, were tending to define themselves and other people in terms of their occupation, status and the role they played in different institutions, for instance, their families, religious beliefs, races and nationalities, all of these informations count for less than something as important as consumption they made. They defined themselves as farmers, fishermen, fathers, teachers, Englishman or French, rather than via their consumption like the luxury car or watch they driving and wearing or their taste in cigar, music or wine. The way to construct self-identity has changed obviously in our society because of the “new culture”intertwined with consumption, which was created by the manufacturers and marketers. Nowadays, when most of people are making judgments about others, these judgments might be mainly influenced by what they wear, what kind of car they drive or what kind of leisure-activities they have. For instance, when we see a men wearing a suit with a nice watch and a gold ring and driving a BWM, we probably would consider him as a successful business man or in a good occupational position with a great payment due to that these products which he uses would make others to identify him as financial success. In most cases, the man’s use of these...
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