Picture of a sphere with binary code

Making Strathclyde research discoverable to the world...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. It exposes Strathclyde's world leading Open Access research to many of the world's leading resource discovery tools, and from there onto the screens of researchers around the world.

Explore Strathclyde Open Access research content

Low-income families and coping through brands : inclusion or stigma?

Hamilton, Kathy (2012) Low-income families and coping through brands : inclusion or stigma? Sociology, 46 (1). pp. 74-90. ISSN 0038-0385

Full text not available in this repository. (Request a copy from the Strathclyde author)

Abstract

This article highlights the paradoxical coping strategies employed by low-income families. Based on in-depth interviews with 30 families in the UK, it is demonstrated that individuals initiate strategies to avoid the social effects of stigmatization and alleviate threats to social identity. In particular, families engage in conspicuous consumption, with emphasis on ensuring children have access to the 'right' brands. This can be interpreted in two opposing ways. Low-income consumers, in particular single mothers, may be understood as coping within the challenging context of consumer culture to improve the standard of living for their families. However, drawing on underclass discourse surrounding 'chav' culture and single mothers, it is demonstrated that the coping strategies employed to achieve approval in fact fuel further stigmatization and instead of creating inclusion have the opposite outcome of exclusion and marginalization.