9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN05 Sociology of Consumption

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Possibilities to consume? Building II, C5.02

Access and appropriation: consumption practices among Portuguese low-wage women

Based on an ongoing Anthropology post-doc research on work, consumption and identity among low-wage manufacturing and retailing female workers in the Lisbon metropolitan area, the paper focuses the ways by which those women manage their consumption practices - namely, their object appropriation work - between perceived choices, possibilities and needs. Self-presentation directed consumption (clothing and accessories, footwear, hair-dressing, etc.) is particularly under focus.

The provisioning approach (modes of provision, systems of provision - Warde, Fine) is taken as a key conceptual tool, for it allows a proper contextualization of consumption practices in the multiple economic, social, cultural, ideological frameworks within which consuming subjects develop their agency. Two chief questions are addressed: income levels, access paths and politics of choice / combination between (use, exchange, identity...) values; construction of meaning along the diverse systems of provision, consumers´ " mythologies" (Appadurai) and the field of possibilities for consumers´appropriation practices.

Data are built through ethnographic fieldwork among and in-depth interviews with relevant subjects.