Tma02 Outline the Claim That Consumption Creates New Social Divisions.

Outline the claim that consumption creates new social divisions.

My essay plan:

Introduction - define consumption and social division

Thorstein Veblen – Conspicuous consumption – explain claims

Zygmunt Bauman – The seduced and repressed – explain claims

Reflections on material lives audio about the recession

Warren Sussman – the performing self – explain claims

New divisions between old and young

Divisions related to the environment

Old department stores

Supermarkets today – divisions between other retailers and consumers


Outline the claim that consumption creates new social divisions.

This TMA will outline and examine different claims that point to the creation of new social divisions as a result consumption. The definition of ‘consumption’ is an act of purchasing, using and disposing of goods, whether that is food, clothing or services (MSL, P13). The term ‘social division’ in this case specifically relates to class, income and social status.
I will firstly be looking at the claims of American sociologist, Thorstein Veblen. He claimed that ‘people buy their things to display their prosperity to others and make statements about themselves’ he made this claim after doing a study on the consuming habits of the newly rich at the end of the nineteenth century (Making Social Lives P31).
At this time, the class system was beginning to diminish, and as a result new social divisions were being created. People with this newfound wealth that he describes were suddenly able to purchase luxury items, and they did so for one purpose: to demonstrate their new status. These people no longer purchased items just because they needed them or because they were useful, items now had new meanings to them; connotations of improved status. New social divisions were created as a result, a division almost resembling an ‘upper middle class’, which the established wealthy people of the time would call ‘new money’. Old...