Sociology Assignment: Sociology of Consumption

Added on - May 2020

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Running head: SOCIOLOGY OF CONSUMPTIONSociology of ConsumptionName of the StudentName of the UniversityAuthor Note
1SOCIOLOGY OF CONSUMPTIONIntroductionThe chosen topic for the paper is Conspicuous Consumption; the famous sociologistThorstein Veblen in his book “The Theory of Leisure Class” stated that, the chief motive ofcertain consumers is to display their wealth and high status in the society by buying expensivecommodities. These commodities are generally luxury items and they are not a part of dailynecessary goods. Those who buy these expensive luxury products, they do so to invoke envy inthe minds of others and increase their self-worth, prestige and to display their high income.Sociological survey has shown that the people belonging to middle class or lower classes tend topractice conspicuous consumption going beyond their financial means in order to increase theirsocial status, this is also known as “pecuniary emulation”, the term was coined by Veblen aswell.Conspicuous Consumption in the 21stcenturyVeblen used the term conspicuous consumption in order to describe the upper classindividuals who emerged after the Technological Revolution that occurred during later part of19th century. In his book he also mentioned the term “vicarious/conspicuous leisure” whichmeans that the owner of a household employs people to complete tasks that are generallyconsidered to be a waste time and the owner spends that time in leisure (Wrege & Greenwood,2017). The standards of living increased during this period, the people belonging to the middleclass began consuming goods that were beyond their financial means and had no practical use. Inthe 20thas well as in the 21stcentury there was an evident explosion in conspicuous consumptionpattern due to the several factors lie globalization, use of advertisements in an extensive manner,new inventions, and other things (Liang, Chang & Wang, 2017). The term conspicuousconsumption although initially referred to the rich people (as proposed by Veblen) but later the
2SOCIOLOGY OF CONSUMPTIONrecent economists like Nikolai Roussanova,Kerwin Kofi Charles, and Erik Hurst found that thissort ofbehaviourhas been predominantly seen among people belonging to lower classes. Thedisplay of wealth by the people having lower income helps them in concealing their actual socialstatus.The people belonging to the class of people who aspire to belong to a higher status orthose who may already appear to be belonging to the higher society explain the idea of Veblen’sconspicuous consumption (Currid-Halkett, 2017). They spend beyond their means on the luxuryunnecessary products like sports cars, expensive refrigerators, and crystal glass wares (Bellezza,Paharia & Keinan 2016). The show of one’s social status through consumption is even morechallenging in the recent times than it was in Veblen’s time. The change in the economic sceneryfrom the Industrial revolution has created a middle class who have money to spend to show offtheir wealth (Kapeller & Schütz, 2015). Recently, the luxury fashion brands like Armani, H &M,has created cheaper products. They have created high fashionable clothes and are selling themfor $30 rather than $4000. This fake fashion has made the aspirations of the middle class and thelower class rise beyond their means.The conspicuous consumption of the rich people in recent times are mostly motivated bytheir need to save time or to make more profits, they do not consume expensive things to showoff rather they meet their necessities (Kastanakis & Balabanis, 2014). . They also spend a lot onthe education of their children so that they may have a good employment opportunity in thefuture. The habits of the elite class will affect the economic scenario of the future, as the childrenof the current elite class will hold the financial and political power.
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