Outline the Nature of Supermarket Power on the High Street and Beyond Essay

Outline the nature of supermarket power on the high street and beyond. Plan Introduction Paragraph One ‘Outline’ – to define the nature of supermarkets and summarise the power they have over consumer society. Supermarket power – summarise the major supermarkets in the uk High street – identify the effects on local shops i. e groceries Beyond – how this affects the world Explain my objective and how I’m going to answer the question. Main body of the essay Paragraph Two Discuss Bauman’s argument about the seduced and repressed and how this is a part of the supermarket power.

Seduced, being able to take part in consumer society and repressed is seen as not able to. Supermarket power allows the repressed to take part. Paragraph Three Evidence Peter Jackson’s study on consuming which links to Bauman’s seduced and repressed Paragraph Four Concepts ‘zero-sum power’ and ‘positive-sum power’ * Dennis Wrong (1997) uses zero-sum and positive-sum game. * Zero-sum game – supermarkets gain more than the high street and factories, supermarkets gain is at their expense * Positive-sum game- consumer society and supermarkets both gain by supermarkets dominant position Paragraph Five

Evidence * Patrick opposing to the gain of supermarket power and Linwood sees the gain from superstore development * Anti-supermarket campaigners. Conclusion Paragraph Six To conclude the discussion and ensure the argument has been put across, in regards to the question. Outline the nature of supermarket power on the high street and beyond. Power of the supermarkets in the UK and worldwide is growing more due to consumer society. The biggest four supermarkets account for around ? f the market in the United Kingdom. I will be discussing ideas from Zygmunt Bauman, Peter Jackson, Dennis Wrong and the developments throughout the United Kingdom. In addition I will be explaining the idea of seduced and repressed, as well as zero-sum game and positive-sum game. I will be referring to the dominance of supermarkets among the high street, the factories and farms in which the products come from. In 1988, Zygment Bauman gave the terms seduced and repressed as an explanation of the consumer society.

He believes that we now live in a consumer society not an industrial society, ‘people in contemporary Western societies can be broadly divided into two groups’ (Making Social Lives page 25). The idea that the seduced could take part in consumer society, as they had enough money to buy luxuries i. e. the employed. On the other hand, the repressed was seen as not in a position to spend their money on luxuries, i. e. the unemployed, migrants or chronically sick. He believed this was the way our identities were created by what we purchase.

Using this idea, supermarket chains are using their power to give cheaper prices than high street stores, to allow the ‘repressed’ to be involved in consumer society and create their identities. This question is raised by Bauman’s theory, ‘Who are the winners and losers in a consumer society? ’ (Learning Companion Two, page 11). By the evidence given in both books, you could suggest the seduced being winners and the repressed being losers, due to the seduced being able to buy luxuries from the high street.

However, when you look at the supermarkets dominance, the repressed are also winners as they are able to buy the same products as the seduced but at a reasonable price. Furthermore, the high street local shops would be seen as the losers and the supermarket has power over the market and selling the same products as deals, attracting consumer society. In the mid 1990’s Peter Jackson carried out a study in North London to explain why shopping malls and retail parks were so popular. The research came back as the people feeling safe, and the buildings being convenient and modern.

Whereas, the street was seen as a place of disorder and crime, a place not safe for families to be. The risk of these places is they might not appeal to the elderly or be convenient for the unemployed, who do not have access to get to these places or have the money to spend. This supports Bauman’s argument of the seduced and repressed, as there will be losers among society. ‘Some argue that supermarkets have a similar impact’ (Making Social Lives, page 46). This quotation shows how no matter how many deals or price cuts a supermarket makes; there will always be a sense of winners and losers among society.

This example could be the elderly or poor not being able to have the transport or again, money. Therefore, supermarkets have more power over and dictating where the less able people go shopping. Zero-sum game and positive-sum game was created by Dennis Wrong (1997), (Making Social Lives page 70). Zero-sum game was described as being a balance between gains and losses, one parties gain is total to another’s loss. An example of this would be in text book Making Social Lives, ‘Those opposed to … now mutually exclusive. ’ (Making Social Lives, page 70).

Whereas, positive-sum game is where both parties benefit to some extent. The example of this would be in Making Social Lives ‘Rather than a … world regardless of season. ’ (Making Social Lives page 70). Similarly, you could say that the nature of supermarket power is more of a zero-sum game due to the domination it has on the high street, as well as the factories and farms where the products come from, in addition to the dictation of what we buy. Beyond the UK migrant workers come from overseas for a better life, however there is a zero-sum game of power happening with those workers.

The migrant workers work on farms and even the factories abroad, pay the workers the UK legal minimum wage or even on a few cases below the minimum wage to gain on their behalf. ‘On this account, power is … into a zero-sum game. ’ (Making Social Lives, page 84). Supermarkets have the power over the consumer society in much more of a global scale due to the production of the products that they sell. Looking at the Supermarket plans of dominance and power, there is many plans of development throughout the UK. Patrick in Glasgow, Scotland has had proposals of developments from Tesco. Their plans are to create a 24 hour Tesco superstore.

Nevertheless, there are campaigners such as STOP (Stop Tesco Owning Patrick) and All Tomorrow’s Patricks, who giving the local opinion and drawing attention to give other ideas for the space that Tesco wish to use. ‘A recent stunt … like delayed explosions. ’ (Making Social Lives, page 62). This was performed by All Tomorrow’s Patricks to show how most of the local residents feel. On the other hand, you have Linwood, which is also near Glasgow which are ‘eager for the transformation’ (Making Social Lives, page 63). They are enthusiastic about the job opportunities since the closure of Peugeot Citroen car plant.

This show how there is a difference between opinions with a small space and supermarkets gain their power from towns like these who are optimistic of the developments and positives that can be produced from this. Anti-supermarket campaigners, like STOP are claiming that that the domination from Supermarkets are like a monopoly game over the grocery markets, which are distorting competition and profiting of the local shops among the high streets in the UK, (Making Social Lives, page 80). They could think that because of the amount of small local businesses that go out of business shortly after superstores are opened nearby.

In conclusion, the nature of the supermarket power is created from the consumer society and where the products are produced, which helps to create their dominance on the high street and beyond. The supermarkets gain their power by aiming at certain qualities i. e. the seduced and repressed, to create good deals of the luxury products in which society wants and control the buying market. In addition, supermarkets power is being created by eliminating the small local shops, all over the UK, which forces the citizens to shop at the supermarket superstores.

Overall, in my opinion, the nature of supermarket power is based on them dominating cities and town’s high streets all over the UK and in some other countries, by using ideas from what the citizens want when they go shopping, for example, cheaper prices and safe places to shop. 1153 words Bibliography Hetherington, K. (2009) ‘Consumer society? Shopping, consumption and social science’, in Taylor, S. , Hinchchliffe, S. , Clarke, J. and Bromley, S. (eds) Making Social Lives, Milton Keynes, The Open University. Allen, J. (2009) ‘One-stop shopping: the power of supermarkets’, in Taylor, S. , Hinchchliffe, S. Clarke, J. and Bromley, S. (eds) Making Social Lives, Milton Keynes, The Open University. Staples, M. , Meegan, J. , Jeffries, E. and Bromley, S. (2009) Learning Companion 2, Milton Keynes, The Open University. Self Reflection What have you particularly enjoyed so far in studying this module? What have you found challenging? I have enjoyed learning about how supermarkets affect our choices and how they also affect the local shops on the high streets. I have found creating the essay plan challenging as I have never created one before. However, I found the online activity useful for this.

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