The Importance Of Goods By Ivory Coast Youth

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The consumption of goods by Ivory Coast youth is an attempt to appear greater than they are. By consuming goods that encapsulate a higher quality of life or a greater level of freedom, they experience the potential of a life they could have, in differing circumstances (Mason, 1985). Status is also gained by the consumption of high quality goods, and in turn, this greater status gives them access to higher quality goods, however the ability to access and consume higher quality goods does not necessarily mean an individual is any closer to reaching their imagined potential.
Newell’s (2012) ethnography opens with a comment from an Ivorian tailor, describing the pride that Ivoirians take in imitation, that they ‘imitate at 100%’ (pg. 1). This understanding of the national acceptance of the
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To live in Europe, for most young Ivoirians, is the dream. It would offer a higher quality of life, with access to the freedoms not available in the Ivory Coast. However, the Ivorian social structure requires that those who are returning provide gifts to those in their social network (Newell, 2012). In order to maintain social relationships, gift giving occurs to both reciprocate from those that supported the emigrant on their original journey and to maintain and legitimise the new identity as a person of high status (Newell, 2012). However, these gifts were often beyond the ability of recipients to reciprocate, and can be seen as distributing wealth back into the community that supported them (Castles, 2009). Newell (2012) argues that migration can be ‘considered a form of consumption’. Migration can also be interpreted as a form of cultural expression, and brings social change to the individual and the wider group with which they interact (Hedberg & Kepsu,

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