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Beyond the logic of imitation-distinction: the meanings of consumption among low-income groups

Grant number: 13/16280-2
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: January 01, 2014 - December 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology - Urban Anthropology
Principal researcher:Ana Lúcia de Castro
Grantee:Ana Lúcia de Castro
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Letras (FCL). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Araraquara. Araraquara , SP, Brazil

Abstract

This research project aims to contribute to the understanding of the symbolic dimension of consumption, focusing on low-income groups. Assuming that the popular consumer assumes different meanings, often distant classical explanation that points to search for distinction and / or emulation (Veblen, 1983; Bourdieu, 2007) this research sets out to discuss them, focusing on low-income groups .The association between consumption and lower classes was not until very recently, something very common in the social sciences, because it is not envisioned the possibility of low-income workers buy other products, besides the so-called necessities. Two changes that contribute to this association pass to be placed on the agenda: a shift in the debate on consumption, which moved away from the moralistic explanations and sought to build new readings for the interpretation of the phenomenon, free from dualism and polarization (Appadurai, 2008; Douglas & Irshwood, 2004) and social changes resulting from the policies of income distribution implemented in the country, it certainly does not imply the emergence of a "new middle class", considering that class is not a variable only economical, but access to a number of people to consumer goods considered "non-essential" until then were shut out of this market.Perspective that seeks to move away from the biases in popular consumption, pointed out by Miller (2004), as well as the practical reason linked to the topic, the research intends to contribute to understanding of the various meanings given by consumption among this new class of consumers. Therefore, we choose as empirical universe residents in a slum located in Santo André. (AU)

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