“Consumer Society Gives People Choice.” Discuss This Claim. Essay

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“Consumer society gives people choice.” Discuss this claim. UK society in the past has been described as an industrial society with social classes being defined around a person’s employment status. Consequently, only those who were very wealthy and had surplus income were considered consumers. However, with developments in technologies, an increased amount of workers in “white collar” jobs and shifts in living costs, the term “consumer society” is one which suggests our contemporary life styles are represented by the purchasing of products and services and how society interprets the choices made available. This essay will look at discussing the extent to which a consumer society gives people choices, examining social, economic, and …show more content…

This theory is not out dated when looking at contemporary UK society. Lottery winners and reality TV stars are modern day examples of people who experience a swift change in the consumer choices offered to them and typically start consuming in a way which now reflects their new found wealth. There are those however who consume in such a way to reflect their individuality to others rather than as a display of their ability or inability to consume. The concept of the performing self, suggested in the 1970’s by Warren Susman (Hetherington, 2009 p.42) can be related to contemporary shopping habits when considering people who consume to display their moral or ethical opinions, (for example only purchasing eco-friendly, fair trade or organic products). These concepts can be considered when discussing consumer choices offered by Supermarkets which have undoubtedly become a growing part of UK retailing. Tesco alone have 2000 stores in the UK out of its 3700 stores worldwide (Competition Commission, 2008 cited in Allen, 2009, p.73) and a 60% market share of grocery shopping in some towns within the UK (The Guardian, 2007 cited in Allan 2009, p.77). The pro-supermarket argument would describe the success supermarkets enjoy being directly related to their acute commercial awareness and understanding of the 21st century shoppers’ ideals. Richard Dodd of The British Retail Consortium

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