Essay on the Association Between Conspicuous Consumption and Dominant Ideology

Published: 2021/11/23
Number of words: 658

Our day-to-day lives are considerably impacted by the concepts of conspicuous consumption and dominant ideology. The concept of dominant ideology influences our lives since it is intertwined with our individual beliefs of religion, society and politics which exist presently and which existed when we were born. A substantial portion of the population holds the concept of dominant ideology leading to claims that this population is controlled by the people who installed the concept. Consumers who do not satisfy their needs yet they parade their riches and affluence through the different goods they buy at exorbitant prices are called conspicuous consumers and this concept is known as conspicuous consumption (Vasilyev et al., 2017). This research piece seeks to describe conspicuous consumption and dominant ideology as well as identify the relationship between these two concepts.

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In the 19th century, a German philosopher, Karl Max coined the idea of dominant ideology. Karl Max was of the opinion that the working class was being controlled by the ruling political class following their establishment of a values and morals system. Actions and decisions of people are controlled by their masters; this is the ideology that people tend to believe is perpetuated by the concept of dominant ideology. The rich and the ruling class in our daily lives are considered to be these masters. Anyone of choice as well as the whole society can be controlled and intimidated by the ruling class. Both the middle-class and the poor are controlled by the affluent in the society. A society’s widely held attitudes, values, beliefs, and morals are represented in the concept of dominant ideology (Turner et al., 2014).

In contrast, to show how much money they earn or how wealthy they are, some consumers show off by buying expensive goods that may not even satisfy their needs, this is referred to as conspicuous consumption. The premise of this concept is individuals buying expensive items that they may never get to use in their lives just for show off. What is difference between the purchase of a normal silver watch and buying a gold watch? The ability to display time is the selling point of both these watches and both can do that perfectly fine, although, on the hand, the gold watch would feel heavier than the silver one. By practicing conspicuous consumption, the society is continually putting price tags on its own people. To show their superiority over others, most people practice conspicuous consumption. To gain or maintain a higher social status, many people utilize this concept since most social classes have flashy consumer effect on other classes (Di Muzio, 2015).

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What is the association between conspicuous consumption and dominant ideology? A particular society’s shared values, attitudes, beliefs, and morals are represented by dominant ideology. The fact that conspicuous consumption is used to regulate those that belong to a certain social class and those who do not demonstrates the relationship between the concepts of conspicuous consumption and dominant ideology. The behavior of conspicuous consumption has been developed by affluent people in order to suppress and control society’s less fortunate and those that rank below them in the pecking order of social classes. Showing off to the society through acquisition of expensive items has consumed the public as defined by the principles of conspicuous consumption. In the Unites States, conspicuous consumption is currently the dominant ideology according sociologists. Furthermore, to demonstrate the association to dominant ideology, the concept of conspicuous consumption has turned out to be a worldview of numerous people globally.


Di Muzio, T. (2015). The plutonomy of the 1%: Dominant ownership and conspicuous consumption in the new gilded age. Millennium, 43, 492-510.

Turner, B. S., Abercrombie, N., and Hill, S. (2014). The dominant ideology thesis (RLE social theory). Routledge.

Vasilyev, A. V., Kovalchuk, V. K., Korkiya, E. D., and Mamedov, A. K. (2017). Conspicuous consumption as an attribute of sociocultural decadence in Russia. Man in India, 97, 399-414.

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