Tma 2

This essay discusses the question “Consumer society gives people choice”.   It will explain what a consumer society is and how through a period of time, the majority of people over took the minority of consumers in consumption of goods and services and how the industrial revolution made consumerism possible for the majority of the population. Secondly it will also discuss the concept of a seduced and repressed consumer.   Finally, it will discuss if the growth of supermarkets have given the consumer a choice to shop in today’s high street or the supermarket.

A consumer society is where consumers shop for either goods or services for their own leisure, choice or necessity and this has lead to society being more known by what it consumes rather than what is manufactured.   However, pre industrial revolution, consuming was really only about the wealthy and those whose occupation defined their status. At this time expensive goods or services would have exceeded the working mans means to pay for what would have been deemed luxuries.   The industrial revolution changed the balance of consumerism as it brought mass production of goods, which helped created the first department stores that were able to sell luxury goods at a more affordable price to a wider section of the community and created the grass roots of consumer shopping today. When manufacturing started to decline, people’s jobs, class and attitudes changed and people now bought for leisure and not just necessity, and this consumerism led to the way we shop today and it allowed consumers to have a choice and express their individual identity when shopping which became more of a social and personal activity rather than one of necessity.

Social Scientist, Zygmunt Bauman believes that “people in contemporary Western societies can be broadly divided into two groups of consumers that he calls, in deliberately loaded terms, the seduced and the repressed”.   (Making Social Lives, 2009, P25).   In the industrial society...