Included or Excluded? Poor Youth Consumer's Accounts on Living in a Consumer Society
Aktas Yamanoglu, Melike
Faculty of Communication Ankara University Ankara, Turkey
Within the frame of this study, consumption practices of poor youth, their relationships with consumption and their world of consumption will be examined in the context of Turkey. The field research findings based on semi-structured interviews with 65 young people living in Ankara-Turkey between the age of 15-29, highlighted that living experiences of poor youth in consumer society are meaningful in the context of both exclusion processes from this society and symbolic struggles given against to these processes. Pierre Bourdieu's theory and concepts, which are developed in his book Distinction (1984), were used to interpret consumption practices of poor youth. Bourdieu's approach arguing the social groups with low cultural and economic capital accumulation organize their taste and consumption choices through their "necessities" have important implications for this study however only "taste of necessity" is not adequate to unveil consumption practices of poor youth in Turkey. Under the pressure of consumer society, poor youth still reference necessites in their consumption nevertheless this situation does not point that they only consider "functionality" of the consumer goods. These young people utilize consumer goods and consumption patterns as a form of symbolic capital to reduce the social distances and develop various relationships. However the consumption practices based on the efforts to hide the class differences and to sustain more equal relationships lead to reproduction of social hierarchies as a result.