Consumer society Moxon (2011)

Consumer society

Moxon (2011) argues that whilst consumer culture did not
directly cause the riots, the shape that they took in terms of the extensive
looting of material goods, needs to be understood within the context of living
within an increasingly consumerist society. In the minority world we are
constantly bombarded with advertising and marketing encouraging us to consume
in order to shape our identities and enhance our social status. Looters took
trainers, clothing, flat screen TVs and laptops perhaps partly as a result of
the ‘envy of the celebrities and footballers who consume so conspicuously and
publicly, but whose power to consume is unavailable to the bulk of us’ (Moxon
2011: 2). The well-known sociologist Zygmunt Bauman also referred to the riots
as: . . . the mutiny of defective and disqualified consumers, people offended
and humiliated by the display of riches to which they had been denied access.
We have been all coerced and seduced to view shopping as the recipe for good
life and the principal solution of all life problems – but then a large part of
the population has been prevented from using that recipe . . . City riots in
Britain are best understood as a revolt of frustrated consumers. (Bauman 2011)
Some of the rioters themselves admitted to being swept along by greed within a
culture of ‘wanting stuff’, describing it as a ‘free-for-all’ with no perceived
consequences (Guardian-LSE 2011). Thus for some it was linked to a sense of
excitement and thrill, going along with the crowd in a moment of opportunism.

 
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