Concepts of the Seduced and the Repressed Essay
Making Social Lives 4/ Exclusion from society by not being able to consume, creating a lack of belonging. / Supermarkets – Do they produce a divided society 2/ Use concepts of Zero sum power and positive sum power. / Has consuming become about identity In conclusion (main points) No new material In not more than 1250 words discuss the role of the concepts of the seduced and the repressed for understanding the place of consumption in contemporary consumer In todays society we can all feel like we have to keep up with the ‘neighbours’, we would all like having the ability to buy what and when we want, or wishing we had the ability and the power to make our own buying decisions.
This essay defines Bauman’s ideas that consumers are either the seduced or the repressed, and explains the difference between the seduced and the repressed. Our feelings of belonging or being excluded from consumer society, arguing for and against Bauman’s concepts and describing various concepts used to describe situations such as market power or coercion and its effect on consumer society. The social scientist Zygmunt Bauman (1988) theorises that western society can be broadly divided into two groups of consumers, labelled as the seduced and the repressed, he believes that inequality and freedom differ now than from industrial society.
In industrial society only the very rich or those who had very well paid Jobs could afford life’s luxuries. These people still exists, those with money and those that are high flyers earning high salaries, these people are labelled as the seduced, but they are now Joined by those who can get cheap credit and people with a good steady income, people in a position to buy into the idea of a consumer society, those with the money to spare. He calls these sort of people the seduced, as they can participate in consumer society now too.
Bauman believes that consumption can shape our personalities and social membership, what we consume offers us status to compare with others in the same ealm. Our identity can be established through what we purchase. Bauman argues that it is ‘principally consumption that is the dominant feature in shaping identities rather than production and work. (Making Social Lives edited by Taylor. S. et al page 27). However, some people can fall out of the suppressed simply by losing there Job or another life change, like retiring or having an accident and being unable to work.
This leads on to the repressed. Zygmunt Bauman theorises that people such as the unemployed or low paid and others not in a position to participate in a consumer ociety on a sound level, some people with disabilities and some older people with only state benefit income will be labelled as the repressed. Those people may not have transport and would not be able to visit the out of town supermarkets and shopping malls without being dependant on public transport and even then may not physically be able to get onto a bus.
These people have less opportunity to become a social member and will feel less likely to feel part of society. In an industrial society those people from slums, criminals and those in workhouses were classed as the repressed. The term repressed could be applied to those who cannot participate in consumer activity because they lack the resources to do so. The people in the repressed category can often feel like they are excluded from consumer society and can feel negatively valued simply because they are unemployed or have a disability or may be old and retired.
Some of the repressed people could try and change simply work. There are those that are labelled repressed that Just could simply not be able to raise a higher income, unless they inherited or won some money. Zygmunt Bauman basses his argument on observation and description and then ffers an explanation as to how or why consuming in society is determined by the degree in which people can participate. (Taylor et el 2009). It offers generalisation and tries to give a big picture of consumer society.
I can see how Bauman’s concepts could so easily be divided into the two sectors but there are of course those who don’t seem to be classed in either of Bauman’s concepts, those who choose not to participate, or do not choose to shop in certain shops even if they do or do not have the money, maybe for environmental or political reasons or simply do not like certain hops, perhaps choosing a small local shop or growing food at home. Most people will always shop for necessities and there are those that receive government grants and welfare payments to help with costs.
Affording items that perhaps would not normally be afforded to them could then be seen to be seduced, but in Bauman’s terms would be the repressed. Consumption in contemporary consumer society may not always Just be the need to shop for food and necessities, it can also be seen to include purchases of other kinds, like membership to the local gym, going to the hairdressers or maybe purchasing a oliday. Children are a big pressure in todays society always pressurising their parents on wanting the next in thing as they have one so why cant I’.
There are arguments that the big supermarkets are killing the small local stores, the big stores gain is at the expense of the small stores losses, causing what is known as zero sum-power (total losses from total gains equal zero). Some social scientists believe that it is a positive thing and all the small shops can gain by passing trade off to the larger stores. If all stores gain this is called positive sum gain. The Supermarkets can also offer low paid, low skilled Jobs replacing higher paid skilled jobs in Industry.
This could have an effect on farming and other industries in the I-JK. The influence of modern day supermarkets has made a big impact on what we choose to buy and where we go, the big retail parks outside of towns have sprung up and are now accessible to everyone in one way or another. They can provide the necessities that we buy everyday like bread and milk at a ‘no frills’ price, so as even those deemed not to be able to afford luxuries can at least experience in some way he shopping experience.
The layouts of the shop and advertising or buy one get one free are all there to entice us in. Only the seduced could possibly afford most of the expensive items or may be coerced into buying something through advertising that they simply do not need or even want in some cases, branded products or items with names on like Nike of Adidas may be afforded. People identify themselves by their consumption. Is todays modern society coming to an end?
With the recent recession and banking crisis, getting credit is becoming harder, mortgages are near impossible to get unless inancial help and spending on a low, putting people out of work, and redundancy on the rise, maybe people will no longer be able to identify themselves through consumption in the future or will it create a bigger divide between the rich and the poor. In conclusion, you can see Bauman’s explanations of the seduced and the repressed and the arguments for and against it.