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Finding Prosperity as a Lottery Winner: Presentations of Self after Acquisition of Sudden Wealth

Journal article
Authors Anna Hedenus
Published in Sociology
Volume 45
Issue 1
Pages 22-37
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Sociology
Pages 22-37
Language en
Links DOI: 10.1177/0038038510387197
Keywords consumption, identity, lottery winners, narrative, presentation of self
Subject categories Social Sciences


The narrative about the squandering lottery winner ending up alone and in debt has been shown to affect other lottery winners’ thinking about how to manage their money. Based on a narrative analysis of interviews with 14 Swedish lottery winners, this article considers the ways in which lottery winners present themselves and their post-winning life in counter-position to this story about the squandering winner. By spending their prize money responsibly in order to project moderate, non-luxury consumption, the winners are ‘rewarded’ by feelings of fortune, security, and happiness. Finally, the article discusses how this narrative about ‘the prospering winner’ might be understood in relation to norms about consumption and identity.

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