Level 4

Class Consciousness

  • Class Consciousness refers to a set of theories and philosophies that focus on the differences and problems with economic classes of people.

Conspicuous Consumption and Alienation

  • You must PASS the Class COnsciousness paper BEFORE being able to turn in the next papers.
  • If you do not pass, follow the Re-write criteria for redoing a paper.
  • See the rubric for Theory papers
  • See a Writing Consultant for further help.
  • Be careful of Plagiarism; there is NOT ever an excuse for plagiarizing.

What is Alienation

What is Conspicuous Consumption

  • Conspicuous Consumption, literally defined, means to consume (buy and show off) goods and services in a very public manner, so as to make sure others know the person has that product.
    • Most examples of Conspicuous Consumption concern rich people showing off their expensive items such as clothes, cars, and houses.
    • However, Conspicuous Consumption is about status indicating one's association with an in-group, and not necessarily about wealth in general.
    • Payless Shoes pulled a stunt to show people's desperate attachment to conspicuous consumption.
    • Currently, showing off one's productivity is a new class power, such as the wealthy justifying "the existence of an imperial class by showing superhuman levels of industry." Think Elon Musk.
    • And busyness has reached into the middle class as well, indicating a status level.
    • Chickens, evidently, are a conspicuous consumption item now too.

    Writing about Conspicuous Consumption in your film

    • Look in the film for STUFF that characters buy, show off, and/or use to set themselves apart (often as "better") from others.
    • Discuss how the utilization of that STUFF causes that person to be alienated from others, and then continue on to discuss how that alienation affects that character.
    • In other words, it is NOT enough to merely suggest the character conspicuously consumes. AND it's not enough to simply say that such consumption causes alienation. MOSTLY, discuss in what way/manner that alienation is detrimental to the character, either as consequence in the world or concerning their own mental state.

    What is Commodification

    • Commodification is when people, unbeknownst to themselves, think of themselves as a commodity, a product to be bought and sold.
    • Commodification is easily experienced in the contest of "who has the higher ranking job in society."
    • In other words, we tend to interact and treat people based on their position in the social hierarchy. We also tend to change our behaviour accordingly. Most people will immediately change their demeanour and behaviour when they realize the Drive-thru.
    • If ever you hide (or hid) from work calling on your day off, you've felt commodification, but that wasn't just once and done; if you felt it just once, it shows you are always, deeply, commodified.
    • The commodified perpetuate commodification onto others, which sustains each generation being commodified.

    Writing about Commodification and Alienation

    • In your film, look for the instances when people's roles (job titles) influence how the characters interact with each other.
    • For instance, the trope of a rich person being rude to a worker class.
    • Alienation occurs because people will not meet and interact with each other as people, as humans. Rather they interact with the COSTUME the person is wearing.
    • While role playing may be fun, we know during Halloween that someone dressed in a certain manner might act in that character's manner, but when we consider everyone in reality is ACTUALLY wearing costumes, we start to see the alienation and absurdity of treating people differently based on those costumes.
    • One of the reasons that Post-Apocalyptic films and shows appeal to me (and I think to many others) is that commodification ends with civilization.


    • Do NOT use the above cited source.
    • Do not use encyclopedias or dictionaries.
    • Find a human named full article that discusses the concept of Conspicuous Consumption or Commodifaction.