Consumerism handout 2014

Task sheet - One Student’s A Grade answer to a question on
Assess the influence of consumerism on youth culture (30 marks)
Consumerism is a social and economic order that is based on the systematic
creation of products and fostering of desire to purchase them or services
that are imposed on society in greater amounts. The development of the
stage of youth has been closely linked to the development of consumerism.
Youth culture the separate of ‘deviated’ culture of youth to main steam
society, this culture is their, norms and values, their styles, traditions, and
general behaviour; this includes music, food, clothes, and actions. Youth
culture has also been heavily influenced by consumerism. This suggests that
one of these social developments has provoked and manipulated the other,
which one and to what extent though is debatable. After Post World War 2
the period of ‘youth’ started to become extended and this new social group
got more influential as they had spending power from the new created jobs
and boosted economy. Another big development of the time that was
concerned with consumerism and youth culture was globalisation, this is the
process through which economies, societies, and cultures get integrated
globally through increased communication, transportation and trade.
Companies religions and cultures have been made global so are said to be
‘globalised’. Globalisation in the 1900’s made it possible for goods to be
produced and distributed globally for ideas to spread and influence and unite
groups of people. Many of these culturally deviant ideas where communicated
globally to youth such as the hippy movement which lead to there youth
subcultures developing around these certain ideas which with them came an
associated style, eg clothes drugs gear. to distinguish them person and make
them recognisable to another member of the subculture. Now youth were an
economic force the bourgeoisie marketed produce toward them threw media
based around there style as there culture became adopted by mainstream
culture. However Marxists argue that the youth subcultures were fighting
against the capitalist system and turning their style and image into a fashion
undermined the subculture and its views. Also Marxists would argue that
many youth could not afford the consumer goods so felt frustrated by the
capitalist system and made them seek out deviant youth subculture because
of this. This consumerism lead to the production of many subculture styles
what polymus called a supermarket of style where he said that ordinary
mainstream youth could purchase the style of a culture without adopting its
views or making any commitment to the culture, and cultures could be mixed
like, like Asians and blacks mix to create a ‘brasian’ ethnic group. Bennet
argued that this culture of social groups based around consumer good and
leisure activities lead to what he described as neo-tribes, where any one
person can belong to a number of different neo-tribes these neo tribes
could attract people from all walks of life. However some would say that
even with globalisation, consumerism has lead to less choice of style as there
a social and peer pressures to conform to the latest style. Many youth
subcultures disagreed with consumerism for example the hippies and
skinheads who were anti development and capitalisation; although these
subcultures were spectacular most youth were mainstream. Although in a
post modern world with neo tribes, subcultures are still relevant and many
sub cultures are associated with one class, ethnicity or gender. In particular
black Caribbean culture that is black, male and working class. It is based
around consumerism where status is determined by material possessions not
personal achievement or personality, an example of this is the bling which
they were as a sign of status. This consumerist culture though has spread
through the world and into almost every culture, for example the ordinary
youth rioting in London to get the latest designer goods, a prime example of
how consumerism influences youth. So consumerism has had a profound
effect on the development of youth culture and the bourgeoisie control
youth culture through consumer goods and youth marketed media.
1. Explain the historical impact of consumerism on youth
2. Suggest ways that consumerism influences you now
3. How does the concept of ‘supermarket of style’ affect the nature of youth
culture today
4. What are the most important products to own as a young person?
5. How does this affect people from low-income families
6. How does globalisation impact on fashion and music?
7. What are the negative affects of consumerism on youth?