Outline the ways in which rubbish can be said to have value in a consumer society.
Many social scientists would say we live in a consumer society, a society where individuals and lifestyles are defined by what we buy rather than the job we do - shopping has become a hobby.   Consumption can be the purchase of objects and also the purchase of services for example hairdressers, attendance at a music event. People’s consumer choices are seen to indicate who they are as a person and of their desires with regards to social class, status and fashionability.
One theory used to examine consumption in society today is Zygmunt Bauman’s (Bauman, Z 1988 Freedom, Open University Press) concepts. Bauman suggests that the consumer is either seduced or repressed. He suggests the seduced have the financial means to consume, have a regular income and have a good credit rating. He suggests that the repressed may not have any employment, may have a poor credit rating or be in a poorly paid job. This can be thought of as quite a simplistic approach as it does not consider those people who, for example, may rather shop at local shops than the supermarkets following their own principle beliefs. Bauman bases his concept on three key features. The first being that markets offer people, who are wealthy or have the ability to consume through disposable income or credit are given the freedom of choice. His theory also suggests that consumer activity can be used to form an identity that people wish to have to gain self-worth and finally he proposes that consumer lifestyles can give an acceptance within society. According to Bauman’s theory, people buy things which are not a necessity, but to try and say something about whom they are as a person and their lifestyle. Veblen (Veblen, T 1899 The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study in the Evolution of Institutions, New York) talks of conspicuous consumption. He defines this as lavish consuming as, mainly, to display a status to...