Tma 02

TMA 02 Outline the claim that consumption creates new social divisions.

Consumption in the social sciences is defined as the purchase of goods and services. This essay is going to discuss how consumption creates new divisions in society and how these divisions are produced. Three topics are going to presented in this essay; The categorization of those who spend, shown in Zygmont Bauman’s “The Seduced & Repressed” theory, the desire of those who consume to be seen spending, as illustrated in Thorstein Veblen’s “Conspicuous Consumption” theory and the opinions as to whether or not the presence of large, chain supermarkets benefits all or some, in contrasting theories of “Zero-sum game & Positive –sum game.” I have displayed arguments that contest each of these theories, as given in DD101 Making Social Lives, Chapters 1 & 2. Through these arguments, I aim to conclude that consumption does indeed create new social divisions.

Contemporary society today in the UK is now more about what people consume and less about what occupation they hold. According to (Hinchliffe, 2009 p.3) “No longer simply we are we defined by our jobs we also tend to define ourselves by what we are into.” Society today is no longer considered industrial. Instead, we are now living in a consumer society defined by what we consume. Consumer society is still not an equal one, as many people are unable to consume equally. According to source (Hinchliffe 2009 p.4) “There are divisions between young and old, the employed and the unemployed, able-bodied and less able, “in”-crowds and “out” crowds. A consumer society is, then, a divided society.”   A number of social scientists have put forward theories of why consumption creates new social divisions; one of which being Zygmunt Bauman’s (1988) “The Seduced & repressed” theory.

According to (Bauman, Hetherington 2009 p.25) “Western societies can broadly be divided into two groups of consumers of what he calls, in deliberately loaded terms, the...