The Extent To Which Increase In Prosperity In The Uk Has Been Accompanied By An Increase In Happiness

1359 words - 6 pages

Module DD101 TMA 02

TMA 02 Write an essay that outlines the view that a consumer society is a divided society. Consumption or to consume is the ability to use and dispose of goods or services. In this essay I will attempt to outline the view that a consumer society is a divided society. These divisions can be between young and old, rich and poor, able-bodied and disabled and so on. Two social scientists, Zygmunt Bauman (1988) and Dennis Wrong (1997) state that the consumer society is divided into two parts, ‘the seduced’ and ‘the repressed’ and ‘zero-sum game’ and ‘positive-sum game’. I will take you through the claims and the concepts then back this up with evidence for these two ...view middle of the document...

This group include unemployed, low paid or insecure employment and those not in a position to participate fully in the consumer society such as the immobile, whether that is through disability or lack of transport. This also covers those where credit is not readily available. Nevertheless, these terms are not set in stone as one can easily move from seduced to repressed or visa versa. In an interview with Prof Kevin Hetherington, when asked about the current economic crisis he stated “I think what we will see sort of subsequently is some shift back to a more unequal situation, perhaps, where fewer people can get easy access to credit in the way that they have done maybe over the last ten years, not only in the UK but across the world in many ways. But certainly in the UK, you know, getting credit cards, getting loans, getting mortgages are likely to become tougher for people if they don’t have a very strong, steady secure job – a very strong, steady secure job. If

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Jaime Hubbard

they are seen in some ways as being a risky prospect for the lenders, then they might find that they can no longer participate quite so readily in a consumer society as they have been able to in the last decade or so.” (Audio-visual, Reflections on ‘Material Lives’, The Open University 2009). Consumer society is also divided by where one chooses to shop such as town centres or out of town retail parks. Although town centres offer almost the same named shops as the retail park, people that shop at each of these locations do so for certain reasons such as safety, cleanliness, convenience or transport. A recent study was carried out by Peter Jackson (1998) in north London. Jackson and fellow researchers asked customers why they liked shopping in out of town retail parks. The study showed that most people that shopped in these areas did so as they had a positive view of the area as being safe, convenient, modern places for families to shop (cited in Making Social Lives, Taylor et al, 2009). The inner city streets and town centres were seen as places of crime, disorder and dirt, whereas, the large shopping centres and parks were seen as ordered and regulated. Town centres are also convenient to certain people such as Bauman’s repressed as they are easily accessible whereas the out of town areas are not as convenient due to transport issues as they tend to be away from the centres of towns and cities. The town centres and other local shops are also losing out to large supermarkets. The four main big named supermarkets fight it out to be the cheapest for the consumer. They are able to do this due to their buying power, this, and the fact that consumers can buy almost everything from food to clothes and stationary to electrical items they no longer need to attend the high street. This is causing quite a concern for local small independent shops as they struggle to...

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