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Young consumer identity in a restrictive school environment — Addictive substances, symbolic goods and consumer skills

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Ulrika Holmberg
Minna Autio
Jaana Lähteenmaa
Jukka Kujala
Publicerad i Children and youth services review
Volym 68
Sidor 100-106
ISSN 0190-7409
Publiceringsår 2016
Publicerad vid Företagsekonomiska institutionen, Marknadsföring
Centrum för konsumtionsvetenskap (CFK)
Sidor 100-106
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.201...
Ämnesord Young consumer; Identity; School; Reform school; Restrictive environment; Out-of-home care; Special education
Ämneskategorier Företagsekonomi, Sociologi

Sammanfattning

For young people, consuming is an act of constructing identity, where goods, services and styles are important parts of signifying who they are. Our study focuses on young people who are living in restrictive environments, such as special boarding schools. They have been placed there because of social and educational reasons. Although aspects of education and health of young people in out-of-home care have been studied, their consumer behavior has been given limited attention. Our study shows that young people openly report the use of addictive substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, drugs as well as gambling. They also build up their consumer identity by appreciating symbolic goods, such as clothes, music and sport. Spending on expensive clothes serves their favorable self-image. The fact that the schools provide all their essential needs makes the learning of consumer skills challenging although the schools reinforce management skills such as planning the use of money. Young people struggle with their identities at the borders of their school environment (i.e. education, school discipline) and the temptations of consumer culture. Even if they manage to break their damaging life path, they will be consumers throughout their life, meaning their consumer skills need to be strengthened by special education.

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