Ethnography from Within: A Review Essay of Allison Pugh's 'Longing and Belonging; Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture'

Katie K. Macleod

Abstract


This review essay provides an overview of Allison Pugh’s ethnography Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children, and Consumer Culture, with particular attention to her methodological approaches and positionality as both an insider and an outsider within the context of her research. Through participant observation and interviews with children and parents in three schools in Oakland, California that span social classes, Pugh is able to provide the reader with a thorough understanding of how childhood consumerism in the North America is centered on a desire to belong rather than influences of advertising and marketing. She is able to deploy various concepts such as performivity, economy of dignity, and consumption to examine the deeper symbolic and socio-cultural significances attached to children’s desire to belong and parent’s feelings of obligation in their decisions to purchase consumer products.

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