Choose, buy, pay – Paradoxes of shame-relieving processes among impoverished Spaniards after 2008’s great recession

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Abstract

Purpose: The aim of the paper is to ethnographically detail the poverty-shame nexus in contemporary Spain, and to highlight the contradictions of the newly adopted consumption-based models of inclusion led by charities. Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on 39 cases out of a sample of 78 gathered through two long-term research projects, the paper employs a mixed-methods approach that mainly draws on a multi-sited ethnographic approach and interviews. Findings: The paper ethnographically documents major contradictions that shed light on the complex relationships between poverty, shame, work and consumption in modern societies. Research limitations/implications: This paper analyses the sources of shame in the experience of poverty and downward mobility, but also it opens new ground for understanding the complex poverty–shame nexus and lets some questions unanswered. Practical implications: The contradictions highlighted shed light on the complex relationships between poverty, shame, work and consumption that may inform modern policies to fight poverty. Ethnography gives voice to these individuals that currently experience an increasingly precarious and unequal modern world. Social implications: The paper contributes to a better understanding of the processes that underlie modern poverty and downward social mobility and points out the contradictions generated by consumption-based models of inclusion. Originality/value: While the poverty-shame nexus has been already analyzed from the point of view of stigma and exclusion from the labor market, the links between a growing consumerism and the neo-liberal values that underlie our modern societies are largely unexplored. The ethnographic contribution and the detailed case studies are also original in the case of Spain.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Organizational Ethnography
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Consumption
  • Ethnography
  • Inclusion
  • Poverty
  • Shame
  • Spain
  • Work
  • CHARITY
  • WELFARE
  • POVERTY
  • EMOTION
  • PERCEPTIONS

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