Looking good: Consumption and the problems of self-production
journal contributionposted on 15.03.2010, 16:11 by Jennifer Smith Maguire, Kim Stanway
This article considers the anxieties and risks that attend the process of self-production in the context of consumption. Drawing from interviews with a small sample of British young adults — white, middle-class, university-educated — the article examines how material practices and discursive strategies resonate with theoretical accounts of the nexus of consumption, identity and individualization. The analysis highlights how respondents discursively cope with anxieties and risks associated with the question of style, the problem of conformity, the desire for confidence and the negotiation of gender. In doing so, the article indicates ways in which the process of self-production in contemporary consumer societies may be less reflexive, and more socially conservative, than some accounts of individualization would suggest.