Poor but not in despair : an investigation of low-income consumers coping with poverty
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This thesis explores mechanisms low-income consumers use to cope with material constraints and increasing pressure of consumer culture. Data were collected through qualitative research methods and draw upon twenty-two female low-income consumers. Findings suggest that consumption restrictions do not always end up with severe negative consequences because of mainly four factors. These factors affect low-income consumers’ approach to poverty and provide mechanisms to low-income consumers to cope with consumption restrictions. First, many of the informants cope with material constraints by redefining the meanings of poverty and proactively resisting consumer culture through utilizing religious discourses and norms. Second, structural issues such as their roots in village and living with people who have similar backgrounds affect the intensity of felt deprivation and their coping in the city. Third, low-income consumers find unconventional ways of meeting their needs and wants through effective and creative uses of their resources. Lastly, those who receive or accept social support are better able to handle material restrictions. Lowincome consumers use community ties to boost their identities and differentiate themselves from affluent consumers. The thesis ends with a discussion of contributions, implications, limitations, and future research directions.
effective and creative uses of resources
rural and cultural background