This study contributes to sociology of consumption by analyzing the experience of shopping at an urban farmers' market using ethnographic observation and observational interviews. Participants included market-goers using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), currency received from federal assistance, as well as those using debit or credit cards. This sample allowed for insight into the process of shopping at farmers’ markets while under economic constraint and in turn, the relationship this process has with shoppers’ self-perceptions as consumers. The social consumption process of shopping at the farmers’ market could mitigate negative effects of shopping with food assistance and financial constraint and promote positive self-making. Though consumers who have not traditionally accessed alternative food movements benefit from this process, it is not accessible to all shoppers. This research implies benefits of widening access to farmers’ markets for low-income shoppers, and potential benefits of structuring settings where people purchase food to promote social interaction.
Looney, Claire, "Does Social Consumption Mitigate Stigma? Identity Formation in an Urban Farmers’ Market" (2017). Sociology Honors Projects. 53.
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