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The Claim Of Consumption Essay

1325 words - 6 pages

Outline the claim that consumption reflects and shapes our lifestyle and identity.
Consuming is part of our lifestyle and identity it gives us a feeling of belonging and part of something by consuming. We now live in a Society which is defined not just by what we make and do but by what people purchase and use. (Pg20,Chapter 1) A consumer society is the society in which we all live, what we buy and why we buy them is what a lot of social scientist would call a “consumer society”.
The consumer society is made up of people who consume for pleasure; fun, out of habit, to be part of a group. (Hinchliffe, 2009, p.6). A consumer can be defined as someone who fully embraces the product and ...view middle of the document...

Consumption, in this context, means the purchase of goods, services and experiences and the consequent usage of these commodities. The term consumer society therefore identifies a society which is defined as much by what people use as by what they do (Hetherington, 2009) and where the processes of consumption have a central. The changes in the role of consumption in society prompted Zygmunt Baumann (cited in Hetherington, 2009) to replace the old class divisions with two different social categories: the seduced and the repressed. Zygmunt Bauman (1988) identifies two divisions that have been created by this change in society. These divisions are branded as the Seduced and the Repressed (Hetherington, 2009 p 25). The seduced are defined as those can contribute towards a consumer society; individuals who are successful, talented, have secure jobs. The seduced is by Bauman’s claims; the wealthier side of the consumer society, wearing the right brand or sporting the right logo identifies someone as belonging to a certain social group. For people to fit into that category they must have a high standing. The repressed are individuals who are prevented from participation through limitations such as lack of disposable income, mobility and geographical location. Baumann's theory of the seduced and repressed depicts modern society as one where consumption dominates people's material existence and helps to understand the division between the included (seduced) and excluded (repressed).  The seduced are defined as those can contribute towards a consumer society; individuals who are successful, talented and have secure jobs. For people to fit into that category they must have a high standing in the community or be able to show that they have adequate income. Most of the seduced with be employed full-time with a wealthy lifestyle giving them the opportunity to purchase goods and services as they want them.
The repressed are individuals who are prevented from participation through limitations such as lack of disposable income, mobility and geographical location.
Over the past three decades, the dominance of consumption over production has transformed society to one which is determined by what we consume, rather than where we work and what our skills are. Consumer behaviour has changed from purchasing necessities to more of a relationship between the consumer, the products and services and the lifestyle it represents.
In Figure 4 (ONS, 2008 cited in Hetherington, 2009, p. 24) we can see that during 2007, when the recession first began in the UK people are using most of their disposable income on transport for both leisure and commuting, recreation and food and drink per week. This shows that people were consuming out of lifestyle more than necessity, which is also demonstrated in that they spent more. As the production of products and services has increased, the type of consumer has adapted from past times...

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