Relationship Between Consumption And The Self Sociology Essay

Consumption has ever been an of import facet of human society, in different ways at different times and in different topographic points ( Clarke 2003 ) . The consumer revolution, the birth of which is a topic of arguments ( McKendrick claims to hold discovered it in the 18th century England, Williams- in 19th century France, and Mukerji- in fifteenth and 16th century England ) , represents non merely a alteration in gustatory sensations, penchants, and buying wonts but a cardinal displacement in the civilization of the early modern and modern universe. ( McCracken 1988 ) The consumer revolution is seen to hold changed Western construct of clip, infinite, society, the person, and the province. Western civilization bit by bit became progressively dependent on and integrated with the new consumer goods and patterns, which appeared from the 16th century onwards ; civilization and ingestion began to manner their present relationship of deeply complicated mutualness. ( McCracken 1988 ) In such a consumer civilization, ingestion has an of import significance to the meaningful patterns of peoples mundane life. That is, they non merely do their ingestion picks from the merchandises public-service corporations but besides from their symbolic significances. Basically, ingestion is employed non merely to make and prolong ego but to turn up people in society every bit good. However, from a critical point of position, seeking to make the ego through symbolic ingestion can besides lend to the captivity of persons in the delusory universe of ingestion. The undermentioned paper seeks to research the theoretical attacks sing the relationship between ingestion and the ego.

{ In the postmodern universe } Our Identity is moulded as consumers. ( Sarup 1996, p.120 )

… Populating life to the full became progressively synonymous with ingestion. ( Gabriel and Lang 1995, p.7 )

The building of ego in modern society is considered to be constantly linked to ingestion. The modern society doubtless represents a consumer civilization, where peoples life maps in the range of ingestion. ( Firat and Venkatesh 1995 ) It is, peoples societal agreement in which the relation between lived civilization and societal resources, between meaningful ways of life and the symbolic and material resources on which they depend, is mediated trough markets. ( Slater 1997, p.8 ) Hence ingestion is of great importance to the allusive pattern of persons mundane life. Along with the creative activity and care of the ego, ingestion is besides employed in order to turn up different persons in society ( Elliott 1994a ) . The assorted stuff goods that people buy, the ideals and beliefs they held show who they really are and whom they identify with. Indeed, people consume assorted things non merely for satisfaction of personal demands but besides for creative activity of their self-creation undertakings ( i.e. for sense of significance in their chase of being ) , which may be achieved symbolically through everyday ingestion. The cogency of this is confirmed by a considerable sum of literature. Lang and Gabriel argue that whether one is looking for felicity, individuality, beauty, love, et cetera, there is a trade good someplace which guarantees to turn out it. In McCracken point of position, different merchandises embody qualities that reach beyond their properties or commercial value, which means, they are capable of transporting and suiting cultural significances. Symbolically, people use these significances in order to make cultural thought of the ego, to obtain and keep life styles, to stand for societal connexions and to advance alterations in society and the ego. ( McCracken 1988 ) In other words, people consume these cultural thoughts in order to be in this culturally composing universe. McCracken ( 1988a, p. Xi ) confirms the latter point: without consumer goods, certain Acts of the Apostless of self-definition and corporate definition in this civilization would be impossible.

Shopping is non simply the acquisition of things: it is the purchasing of individuality. ( Clammer 1992, p. 223 )

Sartre ( 1998 ) argues that The bond of ownerships is an internal bond of being. ( p. 588 )

He emphasizes on the thought that people come to cognize who they are trough what they possess. By really detecting their stuff ownerships they construction and prolong a impression of experiential ego. The thought of seeing is of critical importance, because as Sartre states to see it is already to possess it. In itself it is already apprehended by sight as a symbol of being. Therefore, when see a superb landscape, people are capable of obtaining a impression of possessing the given landscape, and so tie ining it with their sense of being. This thought illustrates how people get a feeling of bing trough window shopping entirely. To hold is to be construct is besides asserted by Belk ( 1988 ) and Dittmar ( 1992 ) . Dittmar ( 1992, p. 204-06 ) argues:

Material ownerships have socially constructed significances… this symbolic dimension of material objects plays an of import function for the proprietor s individuality. … This suggests that stuff societal world in an built-in, permeant facet of mundane societal life, of building ourselves and others.

Belk ( 1988 ) in his scrutiny of the connexion between holding and being, states that it is a double procedure working in both waies severally. Not merely do people put their self-identities into their ownership but they besides integrate the latter into their individualities ; that is mirrored in the so called self-extensions procedure ( i.e. the drawn-out ego ) . As extension of the ego, peoples ownerships non merely enable them to happen their existent characters but to accomplish or set their sense of continuity from the past. Therefore, material ownerships act as a capacity to pull off single s life in its current class.

As stated above to hold is to be but to hold besides means to belong. Richins ( 1994, p. 523 ) provinces, Possessions are portion of the societal communicating system and are sometimes actively used to pass on facets of the ego. Undoubtedly, when obtain personal ownership that expresses peoples single sense of individuality and their sense of belonging to a group and corporate individuality. Material things encompass symbolic significances, trough which a bridging of the ego to others in society is possible. Dittmar ( 1992, p. 11 ) provinces:

The impression that we express our individuality trough our stuff ownerships, and do illations about the individuality of others, on the footing of what they possess, means that there must be socially material objects as symbolic manifestation of individuality.

Presents, people are able to utilize ingestion symbolically in order to derive a considerable sense of belonging to assorted imagined communities ( Anderson 1983 ) or different neo-tribes ( Maffesoli 1988 ) . Therefore, people consume different merchandises that add to the symbolic agencies of designation of the ego, trough which they associate themselves emotionally with those sharing their life styles. ( Gabriel and Lang 1995 )

Consumption, as it has been stated in the above paragraphs, provides people with symbolic significances to build their ego and individuality, but it besides can incarcerate them to the superficial sense of ego and the enduring ingestion. Therefore, from a critical position, to hold agencies to be enslaved.

If I am what I have and if what I have is lost, who so am I? ( Fromm 1976, p. 76 )

Harmonizing to Fromm, seeking to obtain a sense of being trough holding hides a hazard of losing it since holding may non remain for good. Contrary, he raises the thought that people realize the ego by giving and sharing patterns, et cetera. To hold contributes to peoples captivity of their ain ownerships. ( Fromm 1976 ) People become slaves ( i.e. trade goods ) in the kingdom of goods ( Giddens 1991 ) . Faurschou ( 1987, p. 82 ) argues:

{ Postmodernity is } … no longer an age in which organic structures produce trade goods, but where trade goods produce organic structures: organic structures for aerophilic, organic structures for athletics autos, organic structures for holidaies, organic structures for Pepsi, for Coke, and of class organic structures for manner entire bodies-a entire expression. The colonisation of the organic structure as its ain production/consumption machine in late capitalist economy is a cardinal subject of modern-day civilisation.

The belief that people are capable of exerting their freedom through certain picks seems unrealistic. Actually, we all non merely follow life styles, but in an of import sense are forced to make so-we hold no pick but to take ( Gidddens 1991, p. 8 ) . Besides, Elliot ( 1994b ) provinces that the pleasance, more specifically the immediate one derived from legion ingestion patterns may incarcerate people in the range of habit-forming ingestion. Gergen ( 1991, p. 74-5 ) shows some apprehensiveness over freedom of ingestion:

Yet this same freedom ironically leads to a signifier of captivity. Each new desire places its demands and reduces one s autonomies. … Liberation becomes a twirling dizziness of demands. Daily life has become a sea of submerging demands, and there is no shore in suspiration.

The will and eagerness to be more, to turn more, to roll up more and more, and more consequences in enduring and suicide of the person. The lone possible manner of allowing travel this degenerated rhythm is to accept the thought that to be is simply an semblance. Consequently, people should allow travel of their will to be, go forth entirely the desire to hold.

Sing all that has been stated above in the current paper about relationship between ego and ingestion strongly confirms their concerted coexisting within and in developed societies of the modern-day universe. The consumer is seen as caught in a cultural undertaking ( McCracken 1988 ) , which chief intent is to accomplish a full completion of the ego. The consumer machine provides persons with the necessary cultural stuffs in order to rationalize their varying thoughts about themselves and their societal functions in society. All of their cultural impressions are embodied in the symbolic nature of goods, and it is through their ownership and patterns that single understands the significance in his ain life. As Kavanaugh provinces, … persons in a society create themselves or specify themselves culturally through the objectification of { a civilization s } conceptual theoretical accounts in centrally prescribed phenomenal signifiers ( McCracken 1988 ) .

It is through the systematic endowing of the meaningful belongingss of objects/goods that individual satisfied the chance and duty of self-definition. The logic and waies of this procedure of ego and universe building through the nature of goods has been progressively understudied and since late it has been drawn accurate geographic expedition. But which still needs farther scrutiny.


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