The Role of Symbolic Consumption in Identity Projects: the Case of Fostered Children

Margaret K. Hogg, Lancaster University, UK
Maria G. Piacentini, Lancaster University, UK
Sally A. Hibbert, Nottingham University, UK
Consumption can facilitate, accelerate, ameliorate or impede identities in transition. Earlier studies have largely examined identity transitions within the context of privileged groups of consumers, to the relative neglect of less privileged consumer groups. Stories from fostered children show how they employ symbolic consumption in their strategies to resist and counteract the threats from their earlier identities as ‘fostered children’ to their newly emergent identities as young adults. From their stories we see how they employ contingencies of self-worth in order firstly, to enhance their self-esteem in the key transitions to establishing an adult identity (becoming parents and establishing family life); and secondly to counter feelings of low self-esteem which contribute significantly to consumer marginality, vulnerability and disadvantage.
[ to cite ]:
Margaret K. Hogg, Maria G. Piacentini, and Sally A. Hibbert (2009) ,"The Role of Symbolic Consumption in Identity Projects: the Case of Fostered Children", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 613-615.