OUTLINE THE CLAIM THAT CONSUMPTION CREATES NEW SOCIAL DIVISIONS A consumer society is now more a society where individual identities and lifestyles are defined through what you able to buy and how you live your lives, as opposed to what occupation you do for a living. Division can be created or made more apparent through this way of consuming, highlighting the divisions between rich and poor or the young and old within a consumer society (Hetherington, 2009, p.3-4). Within this essay focus will mainly be on two claims. The first claim being that some individuals are better placed to consume within society through their ability or inability to spend money given their career or lack of job, thus creating social divisions. The second claim will look at how large supermarkets use their power to produce a divided society. The divisions here are created through supermarkets abusing their dominant position at the expense of the consumers and by possibly providing a wider consumer choice that others may not agree with.
Consumption can create divisions within society, and the access and ability to consume to shape a person’s identity is claimed to be a main part of this division. In the past division was grouped into classes for example, lower, middle and upper, however in society today this division is mainly between those that have the ability to consume effectively and those who do not. According to Bauman western societies can be divided into two groups of consumers, which he calls ‘the seduced’ and ‘the repressed’. He believes that the consumer society we live in is not an equal society and differs from earlier days where class defined who we were. But, he believes the inequality and freedom differ within a consumer society and that it promises choice and freedom to those who may be wealthier or of a higher social standing to be able to consume more effectively (Bauman, cited in Hetherington, 2009, p.25).
Individuals that fall into ‘the seduced’ category are...
Cited: Hetherington, K. (2009) ‘Consumer society? Shopping, consumption and social science’, in Taylor, S., Hinchliffe, S., Clarke, J. and Bromley, S. (eds) Making Social Lives, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
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