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Collective consumption does it exist?

Do we consume collectively or individually? Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman would argue that consumption is highly individualistic and alienating experience. His famous words being “there is no such thing as collective consumption.”

Echoing classical theorists such as Marx that the individual has become highly isolated and alienated from society.

After reading Zygmunt Bauman’s ‘Consumerism Work and the new poor’ I started reflecting on this idea of ‘collective consumption’ and Bauman’s hypothesis that we consume on a purely individual level and only on a individual level.

Reflecting on my consumption before I walked into the seminar I had been presuaded into buying paintballing tickets by a rather forceful salesman. As I sat down and scanned my readings there was a sense of dark irony. I had just succumbed to everything we were discussing in class.

Personally I see consumption as entirely collective especially through social media. Applying Bauman’s anaylsis to the world of tiktok you can ask anyone on street “Where did you get that from?” and there answer will usually be through some form of social media advertising. However this does not prove that our consumption is isolating and lonely.

Consumption — unnecessary consumption I must emphasise is something that is enjoyed, done collectively, do we not all follow trends we see on social media no matter what we like to tell ourselves.

I think there is something deeply rooted in modernity that we like to see ourselves as highly individualistic with our unique characteristics however in some way shape or form we are latching onto what we see. We are all following each other and following trends we see. We are not as individualistic as we like to seem.

As a sociology student, I will always argue that the latter, we are collective consumer’s with collective ideas no matter how individualistic we like to see ourselves.

Modern/pre-modern theorist put a lot a of emphasis on this idea of alienation that modernity/industrialisation has led us to become highly individualised people. I would make a rather radical argument per se and say that we have not become individualised but the ways in which we interact, behave and act have changed radically. Rather our ‘collectivness’ has not changed but the way in which we enagage with this has changed.

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Mureeyum

Mureeyum

Hiya! My name is Maryam and welcome to my space! I usually write about anything that comes to my mind! Mostly sociology related!