The Function Of Consumerism In Creating A Sense Of Self

2582 words - 11 pages

Consumerism can be defined as an economy, social order and ideology, which encourages the buying of goods and services in even greater amounts. It is also a market concept based on supply and demand forces, covering the entire range of goods and services necessary for maintaining and continuing human existence on earth. From the very first day of life in this universe, man depends on consumption. The culture of consumerism ties the human being to the things, such that he or she becomes dependent on them. However, it is one thing to consume so as to live and a completely different thing to live for consumption. Living for consumption shows a dependent lifestyle reliant on consumption. Consumerism, which is this excessive dependent consumption, is a trend and a spirit of the contemporary society that excessively borders on materialism. Recent research shows that the consumerist society begins from the man and ends outside the man with his attachment to material values (Malpas 21). The consequence of adapting to this culture is that we have become so entangled in it and the human relationships we once held dear have been degraded both near and far. This culture is addictive and it has become a part of us. We have unknowingly become trapped in a downward spiral of both mental and financial consumer debt. It is a death spiral for the human race. The question at hand, however, is what drives or motivates us towards this consumerist culture? What are we hoping to achieve at the end of it all? In our postmodern or contemporary society consumerism has taken up a very big role in our lives and few things play such an influential role in our lives. Sociological analyses and studies have shown that consumerism is very intimately tied to the creation of a sense of self.For the purpose of this research, I intend to establish the sources of influence of our consumerist culture from a sociological point of view. Through a detailed analysis I will show how consumerism functions to create a sense of self.
Shopping is a mode of self-expression and gradually creates an individual’s sense of self. Shopping is an aspect of consumerist culture whereby we search for what we want and pick that which we desire. From a sociological point of view, it is a way we search for ourselves and our place in the world. Shopping involves tasting, touching, sifting, considering and talking a way through diverse possibilities as we determine within ourselves what we need or what we desire. Shopping may be conducted in the most public of places but in essence it is a very personal and intimate experience. Shopping consciously involves a process of not only searching externally but also internally through memory and desire. It becomes an interactive process through which we dialogue with not only with people, things or places but also with parts of our “selves”. This process is dynamic and reflective and allows us to discover and give form to pieces of self, which might otherwise...

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