Young and Recognized in Service Interaction? Re-positioning Youth and Adulthood with Performance Tactics and Strategic Laughter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Young consumers hold an iconic position in post-industrial cultures. In spite of youth idealization in consumer culture, we know little of how youth is situated in everyday interactions in service culture. In our study, we focus on age-related power structures in service encounters. We argue that customer service interaction is built on the norm of an adult order; that is, to achieve an appreciated position as a customer, young people are required to act like middle-aged' consumers. To gain recognition, young consumers use resistance tactics: They create co-performing teams together with adults and modify their own performance towards adulthood by masking signs of youth. The findings suggest that young people may also resist the dominant adult order; laughter and smiling express a strategy that re-positions adults into a less powerful position in the service environment. The study shows that young and adult categories in service interaction are constantly under re-negotiation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalYoung
Volume26
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)17-33
Number of pages17
ISSN1103-3088
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology
  • Youth
  • young consumer
  • service interaction
  • tactics
  • strategy
  • narrative
  • position(ing)
  • power
  • adult order
  • customer service
  • SOCIAL EXCLUSION
  • GENDER
  • ENCOUNTERS
  • IMMIGRANTS
  • NARRATIVES
  • REJECTION
  • MATTERS
  • AGE

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