Explore The Claim That Consumer Society Is Characterised By Freedom Of Choice

2017 words - 9 pages

Plan
I will be drawing information from ‘Making Social Lives’ – Chapter 1 (Hetherington, K) and 2 (Allen, J) will be my main sources. I will also be using ‘Learning Companion 2’ and the audio material from ‘Evidence in the social sciences’.
Introduction:-
* Describe what is meant by ‘consumer society’. (Page 13 of ‘Making Social Lives’ has a good definition to draw from).
* Explain what the essay will consist of and arrive at - Including factors that influence freedom of choice within consumer society, making reference to Bauman, Susman and Veblen.
* State how you will build on Bauman’s division of the ‘seduced and repressed’ with respect to ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ supermarket ...view middle of the document...

Include the concepts ‘positive sum gain’ and ‘zero sum gain’. Include ‘market power’ and ‘buying power’. Use audio material – Helen Rimmer (anti-supermarket campaigner – member of Tescopoly) and Richard Dodd (pro-supermarket campaigner), picking out appropriate quantitative and qualitative evidence. Remembering that an argument is built on questions, concepts, claims, and evidence. Pick out relevant information from ‘Making Social Lives’ and ‘Learning Companion 2’, including any qualitative and quantitative evidence. (I will draw information from page 66-86 of ‘Making Social Lives’; pages 16-18 from ‘Learning companion 2’; and ‘Track 1’ of ‘Evidence in the social sciences’.
* Aim for 950-1050 words.

Conclusion:-
* Summarise all of the above to form a strong conclusion regarding freedom of choice within consumer society. Make reference to how the evidence used by the campaigners is selective, and can also be interpreted differently by difference lobbies.
* Aim for 100-150 words.

Finally, state the word count, aiming for 1250 words, however, definitely do not exceed 1375 words; reference all in-text citations using the Harvard referencing system and complete self-reflection.

Explore the claim that consumer society is characterised by freedom of choice

Consumer society is a post-industrial label that refers to a society that is defined by how and what people purchase and use, as much as what they make or do (Hetherington, 2010 p.13). In this essay, I will be discussing the extent to which consumer society is characterised by freedom of choice by examining social, political, geographical and economical factors in relation to the work by Zygmunt Bauman, whilst linking the relevance of both Susman and Veblen’s work. I shall then build on Bauman’s division - drawing attention to the power of big supermarkets in relation to ‘real choices’ available on the high street, whilst focusing on the arguments of both ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ supermarket campaigners to arrive at a strong and coherent conclusion.
Consuming has never simply revolved around meeting the necessary bodily needs, but has been argued that it shapes individual identity and self-expression, and therefore is a matter of individual choice (Hetherington, 2010 p.20). Characteristics of consumption have changed as we have developed from the industrial society to contemporary consumer society, therefore, so too have our choices changed of how, where, when and why we consume. Our seemingly individual choices have been influenced by factors including: retail roles, media influence, income, education, and social expectancy (Hetherington, 2010 p.21).
The theorist Zygmunt Bauman raised a question in the late 20th century regarding whether access to consumer society was available to everyone in an equal way. He claimed that we live in a consumer society where divisions and inequalities which correspond to choice, are established by economic ability to consume, in contrast...

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