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How is the city written - I picked the topic: by consumerism - Essay Example

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How is the city written - I picked the topic: by consumerism

London, being a focal point of Europe, has been a home to people from all around the globe. While commenting on consumerism as a phenomenon, Stearns (2001) regards a consumerist society as “a society in which many people formulate their goals in life partly through acquiring goods that they clearly do not need for subsistence or for traditional display.” (Stearns 2001, p.9). As one talks about fashion and life style of people, consumerism has been a driving force in evolving and incorporating them in the lives of people living in London. According to Mullins, Natalier, Smith & Smeaton (1999), the theoretical propositions in relation to the concept of consumerism are largely classified as pessimistic views and liberal views. The pessimist point of view considers consumerism as a byproduct of capitalism, whereas optimistic views states that “consumption allows people to improve their subjective and objective well-being, with opportunities being available to enhance leisure freedom and to facilitate the pursuit of happiness.” (Mullins, Natalier and Smith 1999, p.44). On the other hand, Warde (1996) states that the diversity of consumption patterns is expressed more openly than before and relating this open expression to London, one can say that the city has dwelled on this notion quite substantially. The ever increasing consumerism in London has come in many facets; the most prominent among them was the conduct of historical exhibition, The Great Exhibition in the year 1851, which expressed consumerism in every way possible through displaying the consumerist intent. The fact of the matter is, London’s metropolitan face was emphasized through the display of its advancement and potential (Auerbach and Hoffenberg 2008). As Peter Corrigan (1997) describes, the modern consumption culture of London city can be traced back historically during the period of Elizabeth I (Jayne 2006). Fashion was considered as an important concept for aristocracy which made London as a center for elite consumption of commodities. Therefore, the trend did not just stir up the concept of demand and supply of consumer goods, but also led to the increase of different kinds of shops, different advertisement techniques, and leisure consumption of urban people in the city. This development of urban life in London has therefore given birth to consumerism (Jayne 2006). In a modern city like London, the consumer culture, the political and socio economic system and modern life infrastructure are merged in a way that has never been experienced before (Jayne 2006). Veblen (2011) described that the consumption trend in the city of London increased due to improvements in social prestige and life style of people. Similarly in London, the ability of people to show their wealth and success motivates them to adopt a particular consumption trend (Jayne 2006). Veblen (2011) also indicates that this trend has been followed by the leisure class, which is the section of society in search of entertainment activities. However in the past, it has grown due to industrial revolution, and therefore resulted in the different consumption practices (Eade 2000). The aristocrats in the city updated their consumption practices in order to stay ahead of the social stratum. Therefore, there is a significant relationship between consumption and social status which has in turn given rise to increased consumption in the ...Show more


How is the city written by consumerism? How is the city written by consumerism? “If there is one agreement between theorists of modernity and those of post modernity, it is about the centrality of consumption to modern capitalism and contemporary culture…
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