The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman came up with the concept that there are two types of shoppers: The seduced and the repressed. These concepts were coined to give an indication as to the types of shoppers there are, so we get more of an idea as to what consumer society is like.
Who are the seduced?
The idea is that those who come under the label ‘Seduced’, spend a lot of money on a wide range of products, especially those that are deemed to be quite popular right now. The theory strikes up images of people going out and buying those must-have gadgets, clothes and more. We see people carrying large bags of shopping, and we know that it’s likely they have spent a lot of money on those products. It’s these products that they cannot live without, and it’s these products that supposedly make their life better.
Who are the repressed?
Bauman also suggested that the ‘Repressed’ shoppers are those who would like to be able to afford consumer goods, but they are unable as they have little cash. This could be due to unemployment, low wages, or homelessness. The idea is that the repressed want to be able to afford the latest phone, TV, and clothes, but their current income doesn’t allow them to to that.
Are these concepts correct?
The fact of the matter is that although these concepts seem very interesting, they certainly don’t reflect consumer society as a whole. This is because not everyone will fit into either one category or the other. There are many people who fit in both categories, and we’re going to explore this a little further:
Not everyone who can afford the must have things, buys them I know a few people who could afford to buy a lot more than they currently do. They’re simply more interested in buying things associated with what’s important in their lives. For example, someone with a big garden who loves to spend time out there, may be more interested in paying a
Southampton tree surgeon to fell their tree, than they are the latest brand of sun glasses.
Those who are repressed may use hire purchase or credit
Hire purchase is now more popular than ever, as is the credit that banks or other institutions offer us. This means that those people who would otherwise be deemed repressed, have access to the goods in question.
Lack of access to those must-have products
Those who are considered to be repressed may simply not have access to the products in question. In some small towns and villages, there may be a distinct lack of shops and access to areas that have shops that sell the products in question. This does not mean that they are repressed, this means that they simply cannot get hold of those products. This is unless they can buy them online, and it’s likely that they will be able to, unless the delivery driver refuses to deliver to the middle of nowhere.
As you can see, the concept of the seduced and repressed is a fascinating one, and it’s one that’s probably being argued about somewhere, right now