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306 consumer culture - types of consmers.docx

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Queen's University
SOCY 306
Ryan Martin

306 consumer culture Inventing consumers Consumers are social actors Consumer identity is defined morally and economically Consumers did not arrive with markets, they are made. Consumer identity is contested- by consumer groups, the state, through advertising. There are many consumer identities. Consumer identity is situated based on context. Eg environmentalists see consumers as a problem and wasteful Consumer can have rational choice, or they can imitate others. They can be slaves and can't escape Inventing consumer In17th century consumption starts attaining meaning Luxury- was seen s beyond human needs and also a public good enabling economic growth. Can have good luxury and bad luxury Human nature- shift from finite desires to infinite desire (david hume)Innocent luxury- things contribute to aesthetics, Blame able luxury- things that didn't contribute to aesthetics, or improvement. Eg drinking. Moral compromise- consumer is rational, but some goods are decent and some are not. Eg consumption of coffee is associated with sobriety Between need and luxury 18th century. Colonial commodities.. Sugar Working lower middle class become consumers of colonial commodities produced by slave labour. Rise of a market. Separation between the consumer and goods, goods coming from foreign places. Individualistic materialism- satisfaction of western desires, linked in the public sphere (eg family) The sovereign consumer - the dominant model of consumer behaviour is economic Consumer makes self directed choices regardless of social world, the decision is based on individual responsibility. Those consumers with others create demand. The producer responds. Demand comes from self directed choices. Consumer is seen as rational, maximizing the utility of the good. Can be symbolic utility. Has political consequences as a sovereign consumer. They have freedom of choice, right to choose. They have uthority over their own needs and desires The market satisfies free choice. the producers competes to satisfy the needs of consumers Thr west is seen as the home of freedom, progress,social advancement Conspicuous consumers Consumption as signaling identity to others. (simmel1904). Express themselves through consumption. Eg fashion Cohesion or differentiation. Identity. The bourgouise want differentiation. Trickle down effect. Consumer is an imitator of the upper classes. Conspicuous consumption demonstrates and elevated social position. Leisure, aesthetics, entertainment. The social group influences consumption, notion of trying to be
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