Date: Thursday, 5 November 2020
Venue: The seminar will be hosted online via Zoom. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4 November 5:00pm, to receive the Zoom details.
No Longer Poor, Not Yet Middle Class: “New” Consumer Cultures of the Global South
Presenter: Dr Anna Cristina Pertierra
Seminar paper to be presented by Dr Anna Cristina Pertierra, with participation in the online Q&A by co-authors.
In many large cities around the world, low-income communities whose populations have been variously and insufficiently described as the ‘urban poor’ and ‘popular classes’ of the ‘Global South’ seem to have undergone significant transformations in their everyday experiences of mass consumption. Growing numbers of low-income consumers in cities across Asia and Latin America, among many other places, participate in everyday consumer cultures of supermarkets, shopping malls, advertising and e-commerce. Their consumer practices form a key part of their family histories, economic aspirations, and household arrangements.
In this seminar, we offer a preliminary discussion of research from two of the four cities featured in this project: Guangzhou, China, and Metro Manila, Philippines. Qualitative research undertaken in late 2019, just prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, illustrates two very different contexts in which low to medium income residents engage with a range of consumer goods and consumption practices that immerse them in a world of branding and advertising for which they are the target market.
The project team now faces methodological, theoretical and ethical challenges in completing the second half of field research, planned for Mexico City and São Paulo, in the rather different context of a post-Covid-19 world. With an unexpected pause in 2020 at the midway point of our field research, we explore the problems and possibilities that lie ahead for citizens whose recent entry into new consumer cultures may now be under threat - and the problems and possibilities of the researchers who study them.
Dr Anna Cristina Pertierra is Associate Professor of Cultural and Social Analysis at Western Sydney University.
Dr Czarina Saloma-Akpedonu is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines.
Dr Tingting Liu is Associate Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, Jinan University, China.
Dr Ahtziri Molina is Researcher and Coordinator at the Centre for Arts Studies, Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico.
Dr Rosana Pinheiro-Machado is Lecturer in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences at the University of Bath.
All are currently collaborating on the ARC-funded research project, Consumer Cultures in the Global South.