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The following essay will focus on consumption and consumerism in relation to food consumption in modern society. Focusing on how mass production created Mcdonaldization of society and also how conspicuous consumption has filtered down through the classes

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Introduction

Using relevant theory discuss consumption and consumerism in relation to food consumption By Gareth Griffiths The following essay will focus on consumption and consumerism in relation to food consumption in modern society. Focusing on how mass production created Mcdonaldization of society and also how conspicuous consumption has filtered down through the classes so that the entire country were consuming the same foods. There is no set definition of consumption and consumerism so the subject takes on many terms and theories. One way of describing consumption in simple terms is the buying, using and interpretation of goods or that consumption is simply socially structured by the society an individual lives in (Mackay 1998). The Fordism revolution in the early 1900's led to what is known as mass production increasing productivity in the workplace but also creating mass consumption as without this mass production would simply not be needed. The idea of mass production has been taken to the extreme by the McDonaldization process which has seen regimental production techniques, which in turn ensures consumers of fast food, are guaranteed to receive the same product every single time wherever that may be in the world (Ritzer 2006). ...read more.

Middle

This shows that what could be seen as a status of consumption and shows your social standing one day can change the next therefore giving no status whatsoever (Trigg 2001). Veblen stated that "people must always try to acquire new consumption goods in order to distinguish themselves from others" (Veblen 1899 Cited in Trigg 2001 pg 101). This still runs true today with modern society attempting to distinguish themselves from others by being noticed in the finest of restaurants consuming the finest foods on offer. There have been restrictions discovered in Veblen's theory of consumption in that it rely's heavily on the trickle down pattern where in modern times the lower classes may also set trends for consumption as social standings have less relevance although it may still prove true for luxury goods (Trigg 2001). One more restriction is that people simply do not show their wealth conspicuously anymore but show it through their lifestyle choices to the rest of the population so they are simply perceived by others to have a certain standing in the social hierarchy through their own personal consumption (Featherstone 1991 Cited in Trigg 2001). ...read more.

Conclusion

In this essay both a modern theory in McDonaldization has been explored finding positives and negatives of the theory and relating that into a modern society's fast paced lifestyle which the industry reaps the benefits from. In contrast to this Veblen's theory of conspicuous consumption relates the population's consumption to a trickle-down effect where food tastes and styles are filtered down through the class system. Although this may have been the case some years ago in recent times with more and more people in society having the capital to enjoy what they wish then the trickle-down effect can also trickle upwards through the classes. This can be seen by the varying consumer base of fast food which was once seen as lower class food by the masses, yet is now accepted across the board with young families as well as high flying business types using these establishments (Ritzer 2006). Overall to gage an understanding of food consumption and consumerism in this country all theories involved in consumption would need to be looked at in detail although consumption habits are constantly changing especially in the current economic climate where finer foods are being swapped for cheaper alternatives. ...read more.

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