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Desires and consumption habits: a study on the role of consumption in the construction of identity references of young portugueses

Grant number: 19/09872-7
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): January 13, 2020
Effective date (End): July 12, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Other specific Sociologies
Principal Investigator:Valquíria Padilha
Grantee:Valquíria Padilha
Host: Ana Cristina Pires Palos
Home Institution: Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade de Ribeirão Preto (FEARP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : Universidade dos Açores, Ponta Delgada (UAc), Portugal  

Abstract

Consumption is an important social dimension, among others, that participates actively in the constitution of the identity of young people. Advertising is one of the main suppliers of significance for consumption and creates, in the juvenile imagination, the references to build desires, habits, values and their way of being. Young people are quite susceptible to the values of consumption society (money, fame, brands, fashion). How do consumption values act in the construction of identity references for young people? How does marketing use and affect young people while selling the need of eternal youth for all? This research, to be held in Portugal, has the following general aims: (1) To identify, understand and discuss how the desires and consumption habits of young people living in Ponta Delgada (Açores) and Braga (mainland) are formed and (2) Identify, understand and discuss whether and how consumption acts as one of the dimensions of constructing identity references of these young people and what its power is in a hierarchy of identity values. I start from the following premises: i) consumer desires are manufactured by culture, so advertising is the main strategy for the formation of needs, tastes and desires of consumption of young people; ii) young people are strongly influenced by the advertising and consumption habits of their idols, who act as reference figures of social insertion and status; iii) work and consumption are two central variables in the construction of the identity references of young people, but the desire to be included in the universe of consumption can be a great motivator for young people to enter the labor market. I propose, as part of a qualitative research, to carry out: (1) Bibliographic survey on consumption, consumption society, advertising, consumer desires and habits, youth, youth identity; (2) Field research in Ponta Delgada and Braga, performing: (a) 8 focal groups with 15 to 29 years old, men and women; (b) individual interviews with some of the participants of the focal groups; (c) continued observation of young people in situations of their daily lives.