Young consumer identity in a restrictive school environment – Addictive substances, symbolic goods and consumer skills

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Autio , M , Lähteenmaa , J , Holmberg , U & Kujala , J 2016 , ' Young consumer identity in a restrictive school environment – Addictive substances, symbolic goods and consumer skills ' , Children and Youth Services Review , vol. 68 , pp. 100-106 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.07.003

Title: Young consumer identity in a restrictive school environment – Addictive substances, symbolic goods and consumer skills
Author: Autio, Minna; Lähteenmaa, Jaana; Holmberg, Ulrika; Kujala, Jukka
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Economics and Management
University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research (2010-2017)
Date: 2016
Language: eng
Number of pages: 7
Belongs to series: Children and Youth Services Review
ISSN: 0190-7409
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/173423
Abstract: For young people, consuming is an act of constructing identity, where goods, services and styles are important parts of signifying who they are. Our study focuses on young people who are living in restrictive environments, such as special boarding schools. They have been placed there because of social and educational reasons. Although aspects of education and health of young people in out-of-home care have been studied, their consumer behavior has been given limited attention. Our study shows that young people openly report the use of addictive substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, drugs as well as gambling. They also build up their consumer identity by appreciating symbolic goods, such as clothes, music and sport. Spending on expensive clothes serves their favorable self-image. The fact that the schools provide all their essential needs makes the learning of consumer skills challenging although the schools reinforce management skills such as planning the use of money. Young people struggle with their identities at the borders of their school environment (i.e. education, school discipline) and the temptations of consumer culture. Even if they manage to break their damaging life path, they will be consumers throughout their life, meaning their consumer skills need to be strengthened by special education.
Subject: 512 Business and Management
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