Consumer Society Gives People Choice

Essay Plan

In approaching this essay I explore what a consumer society is. I pose a number of questions about the role of the consumer society.   Does a consumer society give choice to everybody in the same way? Who and what within consumer society is responsible for giving or impeding choice? I then explore possible answers to these questions. I investigate and explore the analysis of numerous social scientists, economists, journalists and other members of society. I use the OU course materials as the base of my exploration and look at how the arguments presented are supported by external reports from current research. Their research presents both qualitative and quantitative analysis of retail and consumer issues faced by contemporary Western consumer society.

    • The outline of this essay commences with the defining of what a consumer society is and the role of the consumer in that society. I will explore Hetherington’s ideas of the development of the consumer society from the industrial society and how consumer society became established.

    • I introduce Veblen’s theory of conspicuous consumption and then explore Bauman’s concept of the seduced and the repressed.

    • This then leads to an exploration of what retail choice we have and look at the role of the supermarkets in creating choice in consumer society. Including an introduction to Ian Fribbons idea of a trade-off being required between society and the supermarket.

    • I explore the audio report presented by John Allen in interview with how Helena Rimmer (Friends of the Earth) and Richard Dodd (British Retail Federation). I discuss how they both interpret the Competition Commission report in different ways.

    • I conclude that we do have choice, though not everybody has the same choice. I then discuss this in relation to Patrick Freynes comment. I then ask if in fact we should be asking not if we have choice but should consumer society have consumer responsibility?