SocNews – TA – Do we have too much choice in our lives?

In this podcast Laurie Taylor, Renata Selacl and Rachel Bowlby discuss whether or not we have ‘Too much choice? (second half of the broadcast)

This is relevant to ‘criticisms of postmodern thought’

Having established that ‘choice’ is the dominant way in which we experience life today’ – pointing to the areas in which we have to make choices – what school to go to, whether to have a caesarian birth, what mortgage,holiday, care, what partner… and so on!!!  – two points of particular interest are –

Having too much choice can lead to anxiety – we constanly worry about ‘having made the right choices’ – and having made a choice – we sometimes worry that we have made the wrong choice and might focus on all the possibilities that have closed off to us a result – either way the net result of having too mcuh choice is anxiety. This challenges the idea that ‘more coice’ is automatically a good thing.

Secondly, there is the suggesting that we spend so much time making choices over relatively mundane things – that we lose sight of the bigger questions such as what’s wrong with society, where society is heading and issues such as social inequalities – Laurie Taylor in fact talks of us being ‘burdened’ with choice’ and there is a suggestion that ‘having to choose’ makes us less free and more powerless. ‘

I think the issue they are getting at is that we have choice over certain things – but only as consumers – and no real power to influence politics at a deeper level -the conservatives and labour and lib dems are all right wing for example. In this sense one can see consumerism as part of neo-liberal ideoligical control.

This clearly ties in with Bauman’s ideas.

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