Toward a Theory of Status Consumption in Less Industrialized Countries
How does status consumption operate among the middle classes in less industrialized countries (LICs)-those classes that have the spending power to participate effectively in consumer culture? Globalization research suggests that Bourdieu's status consumption model, based upon Western research, does not provide an adequate explanation. And what we call the global trickle-down model, often invoked to explain LIC status consumption, is even more imprecise. We study the status consumption strategies of upper-middle-class Turkish women in order to revise three of Bourdieu's most important concepts-cultural capital, habitus, and consumption field-to propose a theory specific to the LIC context. We demonstrate that cultural capital is organized around orthodox practice of the Western Lifestyle myth, that cultural capital is deterritorialized and so accrues through distant textbook-like learning rather than via the habitus, and that the class faction with lower cultural capital indigenizes the consumption field to sustain a national social hierarchy. (c) 2009 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..
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