Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Laurel Graham, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Jennifer Friedman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rebecca Zarger, Ph.D.


capital, consumer culture, emotion, food, young people


American consumer culture is often depicted as competitive and based on the acquisition of capital and status through goods or experiences. To date, researchers commonly exclude children from this conversation and therefore fail to wholly assess the impact consumer culture has on one’s choices or behavior. This study adds to a growing body of literature exploring the experiences and agency of children within the broader consumer culture by examining how marginalized children from a lower socioeconomic background use food as a resource for belonging among peers. Observation and interview data collected during designated lunch and snack times at a summer program in Tampa, FL reveal that children co(construct) a reality all their own which allows peers a chance to belong and simultaneously acquire capital. This project contributes to the understanding of the role race, class, and emotions play for children within the American consumer culture, especially regarding food consumption.

Included in

Sociology Commons