“Generally, I live a lie”: Transgender consumer experiences and responses to symbolic violence

Sophie Duncan‐Shepherd*, Kathy Hamilton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In this article, our focus is on how trans consumers experience symbolic violence to draw attention to inequalities that may otherwise remain hidden. Unlike overt acts of physical violence, symbolic violence is subtle and occurs routinely throughout the course of everyday life. We address the following research questions: how do trans consumers experience symbolic violence, what are their responses to this, and what impact does this have on their wellbeing? Our findings demonstrate that symbolic violence functions at sociocultural, interpersonal, and individual levels for trans consumers. We illustrate the tensions trans people encounter between conforming to cisgender hegemony and living an ‘authentic’ life. The subtle, naturalizing power and misrecognition of symbolic violence appears challenging for the wellbeing of transgender consumers. The lens of symbolic violence usefully informs and integrates with the consumer vulnerability perspective that has previously been used as a theoretical framework to understand transgender consumers' experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1597-1616
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Consumer Affairs
Issue number4
Early online date27 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • interviews
  • symbolic violence
  • transgender


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