Introduzione. I consumi e i poveri: nuovi stili di ricerca

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Introduction. Consumption and the poor: new research styles

Carla Lunghi, Laura Bovone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


This volume approaches in an unusual way, at least for the Italian situation, a topic which has high impact on the society: poor’s consumptions. The low-income population, indeed, is mostly studied in a quantitative perspective (who and how many are poor, how much money they have, how much they spend and what to buy) that tells us little about, for example, consumption and savings strategies or about networks of exchange and reciprocity. In the research here reported, however, the qualitative perspective has been privileged, in order to overcome the widespread stereotype that the poor would be excluded from the choice of goods and their existences’ practices. Unusual aspects of poverty have emerged from the analysis of daily life routines and the concrete use of domestic objects and contexts, from the study of behavior related to the media, from the observation of places such as soup kitchens, residential communities, religious help centers, points of distribution of food and clothing. By applying innovative methodologies of research – visual sociology and interviews with photo-stimulation, ethnographic observations, biographic interviews – the authors have shown how people never entirely renounce to build creatively relationships and identities, even in the presence of strong, both cultural and relational, material constraints. Even those who experience in their lives lack of consumption opportunities manage to implement strategies which are alternative to the market, through savings, gifts and exchanges, low cost innovative uses of objects and spaces. This way, consumption practices demonstrate to be a tool toward identity construction, not only for those who hold positions which are already guaranteed, but also for those who, even having limited resources, try to use them for legitimating both their culture and their existence.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Introduction. Consumption and the poor: new research styles
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationConsumi ai margini
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Consumi
  • Consumption
  • Poverty
  • Povertà


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