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The Costs of Consumer Culture and the Cage Within - Book Report/Review Example

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The paper contains a summary of Helga Dittmar's research “The Cost of Consumer Culture and the Cage Within” in which the price of consumer culture and its effect on the society has been evaluated. The author of this research explains the  main features of traditional culture for western countries…
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The Costs of Consumer Culture and the Cage Within
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The Costs of Consumer Culture and the Cage Within
Helga Dittmar conducted a research “The Cost of Consumer Culture and the Cage Within” in which the price of consumer culture and its effect on the society has been evaluated. This research is based on the research conducted by Kesser, Cohn, Kanner, and Ryan, because these researchers attempted to find out objectives of modern capitalism of organizations globally and the way individuals are pushed to achieve personal goals for their well-being. The author of this research has attempted to explain main features of traditional culture for western countries that can be considered as spending, greediness, and publicity (Dittmar, 2007). The cultural influence on western people has not been properly identified, but it is evident that different factors of culture such as individuality and covetousness influence psyche of the children and adults in a negative manner. According to the author, the people living in these countries idealize different pictures of the supreme body, attractiveness, and wealthy lifestyle, but thinking of these people is not limited to these images. Instead, it is the beginning of their sense of identity. It is imperative for the psychological health of people that they should consider their personal identity, but there are many disturbing forms of consumer culture associated with the personal identity. Therefore, Dittmar proves that personal identity is connected with the modern culture and cultural changes that have the ability to influence stipulations by which an individual develops his or her identity (Dittmar, 2007).
Dittmar clarifies that consumer culture has negative impact on the way consumers perceive themselves, and their arousing interests. The media can influence people to buy products or services because people perceive these products as a part of their identity. Media has a large impact on society, and this is the reason that media can change the opinion of people for any topic. When people watch different programs on media, there are pictures that have a depressing effect on the psyche of children, and it can damage their way of thinking. The media has a negative impact on the society because people idealize different products or services shown by media and they want to consume these material goods whether they can afford them or not. The author is trying to prove a point that if people are not able to get these goods, then negative emotions comes in the mind of people, which is not healthy for the society (Dittmar, 2007). The consumer culture should have brought happiness for people to enjoy their liberty, but unfortunately, this culture brings strong psychological disorders to consumers. There are three different ways that consumers pay the price of their culture. The hunt for a materialistic lifestyle and the ideal body has a harmful effect on people involved in consumer culture that includes adults, kids and teenagers. Dittmar further suggest that intervention should be made in order to prevent materialistic lifestyle and unreal body in the consumer culture (Dittmar, 2007).
Dittmar further explains that consumer culture is a “Cage Within” because the people perceive impractical models as their identity deficits and try to improve their identity by the negative acts. As consumer culture has a negative impact on different people, there are many advantages for people who have different and exclusive lifestyles as they have the liberty to spend more amounts for buying consumer goods. When consumer culture is related to the “Cage Within,” there is an element of dissatisfaction for inherited needs of the consumers. Helga Dittmar throughout the research has tried to prove that ideal images made by the culture not only materialize “good life,” but portray “body perfect” as well (Dittmar, 2007).
Dittmar, H. (2007). The costs of consumer culture and the “cage within”: The impact of the material “good life” and “body perfect” ideals on individuals” identity and well-being. Psychological Inquiry, 18(1), 23-59. Read More
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