“The Self in a Consumer Society” in ‘Identity’ by Bauman (2004)

My tutor advised me to look at the following essay by Bauman (2004) addressing ‘the universal elite’ in relation to self-perception issues, social media and consumerism. This is important in understanding how material objects and new content from magazines, brands and social media play a part in our self-hood, self-perception and our ability and expectations to be a certain way, look a certain way and conform to ‘ideals’ portrayed by such medias.

Notes have been made below from my findings:

  • We live in both a consumer society and a producer society, whereby social media platforms allow us to produce our own content opposed to simply viewing and consuming as that of magazines and brand-led content, for example.
  • We are judged by how well we conform and play out our ideal role/ideal in modern day society due to an influx of ideals and expectations which are imposed upon us; ‘the universal elite’, which only some can maintain and attain.
  • Consumerism and conforming is a desirable experience, along with acquiring new possessions and material goods.
  • Brands are constantly releasing new products, whilst magazines are releasing new content, similar to that of social media feeds, allowing for one to feel the need to be constantly exposed to ‘newness’.
  • Social status and the ability to consume dictates ones position and the freedom to be who one wants to be, and therefore how one is received and perceived by the public, friends and families for example.