Vulnerable Communities / Publication Abstract

Anticonsumption as Tactical Response to Institutionalized Subordination: The Case of Materially Deprived Anticonsumers

Nov 1, 2018

Hélène Cherrier, Ronald Paul Hill

Vulnerable Communities
Health & Nutrition

Abstract

Whereas most anticonsumption research focuses on middle- to upper-class consumers who reduce, avoid, or control consumption, this study analyzes anticonsumption among materially deprived consumers. Such an anticonsumption focus runs contrary to the conventional subordination of homeless people to the status of inferior and deficient, whose survival is dependent on social housing support and food charities. Findings from an ethnographic study in Australia show that materially deprived consumers avoid social housing and food charities as a tactical response against institutionalized subordination, which specialized homeless services reinforce. In this context, anticonsumption is thus not about projecting a self-affirming identity or generating a collective force to change consumer culture. Rather, anticonsumption among materially deprived consumers aims at overcoming institutionalized subordination and represents tactics of survival rather than strategies for illusionary emancipation.

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