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Keeping up appearances: low-income consumers' strategies aimed at disguising poverty

Hamilton, K.L. and Catterall, M. (2007) Keeping up appearances: low-income consumers' strategies aimed at disguising poverty. In: Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research. Association for Consumer Research, 184 - 189.

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Abstract

This paper explores the experiences of low-income families in dealing with the stigma associated with poverty in a consumer society. In-depth interviews were held with thirty low-income families. Findings suggest that attempts to disguise or mask poverty are common. These masking strategies were found both outside and within the family. The former involves the family’s united attempts to reduce the visibility of poverty to outsiders while the latter involves parents’ attempts to shield children from the effects of poverty. Findings support consumer research studies on stigma management, and suggest that strategies that mask stigmas may be important for vulnerable consumers.