Dominant ideologies and the concept of conspicuous consumption have a considerable impact on our day-day lives. The dominant ideology plays a role in our lives in that it is part of our political, social, or religion beliefs that we have as individuals which existed at the time of our births and which exist to date. The dominant ideology is held by a majority of a population and may have been installed by people who wanted to control that population. Conspicuous consumption is a phrase used to refer to consumers of different goods who purchase items at very expensive prices just to display how rich they are and what they earn but not to satisfy their consumer needs. The purpose of this paper is to define the two concepts of dominant ideology and conspicuous consumerism and how they relate to each other.
The phrase ‘Dominant Ideology’ was coined by Karl Marx, a German philosopher of the 19th Century. Karl Marx upheld the belief that the ruling political class established a system consisting of morals and values to enable them to exercise control over the working class. I tend to think that the dominant ideology is an ideology where people have masters who control each of their decisions or actions. These masters in our daily life are the ruling class and the rich. The ruling class controls the whole society and can intimidate anyone of choice. The rich control the poor and the middle-class too. Dominant ideology represents the morals, beliefs, values, and attitudes widely held by many in a particular society.
Conspicuous consumption entails consumers of various goods purchasing expensive goods just to show off how wealthy they are or the amount of money they earn. This concept is based on people showing off when buying items which they may not even require that much. I really don’t get the difference between buying a gold watch and buying the normal silver watch. Both watches display time and even more to this is that the gold watch might be heavier than the silver watch on one’s hand. Conspicuous consumerism is just an analogy that we put on ourselves putting price tags on our lives. Many people use this conspicuous consumption of goods to demonstrate their superiority over others. Most social classes have flashy consumer effect on other classes and use this concept to gain or maintain higher social status.
How does the concept of ‘Dominant Ideology’ relate to the concept of ‘Conspicuous Consumerism’? Dominant Ideology represents a set of morals, beliefs, attitudes, and values that are common to a majority of people in a particular society. The dominant ideology can be related to the concept of conspicuous consumption in that conspicuous consumerism has become a way to determine who is in a particular social class and who is not. People have developed the conspicuous consumerism behavior and use it to control others who are less fortunate in society or those who are below their social class. Consumerism has consumed the public defined by the individual acquisition of expensive products and goods as a show off to society. Gary Cross, a social historian states that “Consumerism is now the dominant ideology of America.” Consumerism has become a worldview for a majority of the people in the world and thus its relation to dominant ideology.
Balibar, Etienne. The philosophy of Marx. Verso Books, 2017.
DIAK, NICHOLAS. “Meteor Madness.” Horror in Space: Critical Essays on a Film Subgenre (2017): 50.