Young Consumers In Sweden "CANCELLED"

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 1:15 PM
Room: 419
Erika LUNDBY , School of social work, Linnéaus University, Kalmar, Sweden
In this presentation the question of how economic resources influence children’s peer relations will be addressed, with focus on the Scandinavian setting. This question is of particularly importance in times of changing discourses surrounding children’s role in the consumer society. The ways Scandinavian children are portrayed as consumers have gradually changed, from vulnerable beings towards competent actors in their own lives. In total, 48 Swedish children aged 9 were interviewed in focus groups, using a projective vignette technique and pictures. The children were asked if and how children in general could gain new friends through material possessions and money. The findings indicate that children perceive possessions as multi-functional tools in peer relationships. The ability to fit into the peer group, by the use of different possessions, was perceived as especially important. Additionally, the children perceived money as an altruistic tool to demonstrate kindness. As the Scandinavian countries become more liberalized, with higher economic differences between households as a result, we need to address the question of the consequences. We should consider the significant effects of increased consumption on children´s social relationships. If children perceive peer pressure of having "cool" things, and if they believe that they can use material goods to become more popular and accepted, they may be highly vulnerable to the internalization of materialistic values.