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Money Talks: Reproducing Deprivation and Empowerment in Poverty through Discursive Practices

Consumer Culture Theory

ISBN: 978-1-78441-158-9, eISBN: 978-1-78441-157-2

Publication date: 22 November 2014



This paper examines in what ways cultural representations of money reveal deprivation and empowerment in poverty.


The study draws on Finnish poor consumers’ narratives of their daily lives to identify the discursive practices involved in money talk. Poverty is seen as a frame in which the tacit cultural knowledge of money and the ways of enacting discursive practices are sustained and produced.


The research constructs a theoretical illustration of consumer empowerment and deprivation in poverty, which is based on four discursive practices: Moneyless is powerless, Capricious money, Wrestling with money, and Happiness cannot be bought with money. The illustration shows the dynamic evolution of empowerment and deprivation as they grow from and vary within the discursive practices.

Social implications and value

The study highlights the practical carrying out of life in poverty, which does not emerge only as deprived or as empowered, but instead involves a tension between them.



Syrjälä, H., Leipämaa-Leskinen, H. and Laaksonen, P. (2014), "Money Talks: Reproducing Deprivation and Empowerment in Poverty through Discursive Practices", Consumer Culture Theory (Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 155-172.



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