Extreme Exclusion and Relative Deprivation in Subsistence Marketplaces: A Study in a Refugee Settlement in Nakivale, Uganda

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Journal of Consumer Affairs


We study how refugees in a settlement face extreme marketplace exclusion through three phases of qualitative research. Overlaying the context of subsistence marketplaces, such exclusion is accentuated by refugee status fleeing from unimaginable suffering. We interpret our findings in terms of relative deprivation, or the state of feeling deprived relative to some social reference, often used to understand how consumers feel deprived in terms of their relative financial status. We extend relative deprivation theory in research, introducing extreme marketplace deprivation. Whereas most relative deprivation research emphasizes social comparisons to other people, our study of the refugee settlement demonstrates the adverse effects of intrapersonal relative deprivation, that is, feeling deprived relative to one's past. We develop a theoretical framework to demarcate types of extreme marketplace deprivation, classifying these experiences in terms of consumption and livelihood along three facets (material, social and psychological). We derive implications for consumer affairs.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.