ED209 revision: young consumers

Young consumers seems a rather short chapter in terms of actual content if you go by the Erika Cox notes. It’s the third of the identity chapters that I plan to go over for the revision and links back to the other two extensively in parts.

The chapter kicks off with what seems basically waffle to the effect that younger children value objects that give comfort and security, older ones value things that can be used in activities and the adolescents valued things associated with identity such as music and jewellery [Kamptner]. Common themes across cultures were control, emotional attachment and utility. The possibility of generational and historical differences makes cross-sectional studies difficult.

Constructing identities through consumption runs through a number of different aspects of identity:

  • maintaining status eg through dress and music (Milner)
  • using brands as symbols of high-status identities (Anderson)
  • solidarity & conflict in consumption and identities eg need to change style constantly to exclude others (Milner)
  • societal differences and style identities: gender, ethnicity & class

Theories of identity & young people’s consumption:

  • Erikson’s ego identity theory: over identification with groups to avoid losing their identity
  • social identity theory (SIT) and self-categorisation theory (SCT): group membership is part of the self-concept (see national identity)
  • positioning theory: social constructivist approach (Davies & Harre)

Not too bad a chapter to revise but it seems a bit thin on the ground to me as you’ll have gathered by the length of these notes. Next up is book 3 and early category representation. In theory the chapters of the final book that I’m doing should be easy for me as I covered some of that in the Exploring English course last year.

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