Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

The Ideology of Consumption: The Challenges Facing a Consumerist Society

Academic journal article Journal of Politics and Law

The Ideology of Consumption: The Challenges Facing a Consumerist Society

Article excerpt


With the advancements in modern capitalism, significant changes have been made in its goals and instruments. Past crises and the experiences acquired by economic institutions gave rise to the development of a special pattern of consumption rooted in the industrial revolution. In the post-modern period, we can observe the rise of a new ideology which is going through its completing process very quickly and a large mass is gaining a new perspective and prestige in consumerist societies. Understanding a consumerist society helps us to find out what instruments and fighting strategies the ideology of consumption uses and to what it causes damage. The role of the media is very important in this regard because they help to create false needs using virtual methods. On the other hand, due to the close relationship between ideology and politics, the consumerism crisis in society can be politically managed with success. In this regard, it is necessary for the political managers to understand different dimensions of the existing crisis and the challenges of the consumerist society and to find appropriate scientific and practical solutions to the problem. The main purpose of the present study is to shed some light on the challenges of a consumerist society by analyzing the features of the ideology of consumption and to focus on the influential role modern human beings play in this society as consumers and to evaluate the political dimensions of management of consumption pattern.

Keywords: ideology, politics, society, citizen, identity, consumption, consumerism

1. Introduction

The accumulation of capital in capitalist countries, the political and strategic goals of these countries, the problems of economic systems in the West, and also their need for new resources have been the motives for directing the capitalist towards classic colonization. Along with the completion of capitalism in America and Europe, colonization took different approaches in different lands and after awakening of the nations, the strategies and approaches of colonization also changed. In the next stage, known as the neo-colonization, direct colonization gives way to a more complicated system politically and economically. Political leaders and economic elite who were dependent on the pivotal countries yielded up the resources of the peripheral countries to the colonizing countries. At this stage, human beings witnessed some changes in consumption which led to the appearance and development of consumerism. Currently, considering the fact that individuals' communication with each other has been facilitated by the information technology, technology, and the closer relationships among the nations, the signs of consumerism can be seen in different societies and is not specific to a specific society.

Today with the greed for more consumption, fights, conflicts, and wars have increased over getting a larger share of the available resources worldwide. In addition, the modern human being has been constrained by the barriers of the ideology of consumption and created artificial identities and new temples called shopping centers.

Ideology is a kind of self-awakening. It is a system of clear, explicit and generally organized ideas and judgments that justify, interpret, and explain the position of a group or society. However, the consciousness and ideas of a consumerist society drift around in a virtual world and the people of this society have false feelings of happiness and move towards absurdity. Consumerism is deeply rooted in history and an analysis of its roots can assist in better understanding of the challenges of a consumerist society and the consequences of consumption.

2. The Roots of Consumerism

Consumption refers to the possession of a product for the purpose of meeting certain needs. Variable and colorful needs of the new era have no stability. Consumption is a part of the social system which explains the motivation to work for possessing products with the purpose of building a relationship with other human beings (Douglas & Isherwood, 1999). …

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