Markets, Globalization & Development Review


The cultural aspects of poverty remain a relatively understudied subject in marketing and media studies: both fields have been concerned mostly with reaching populations with certain level of purchasing power. This study shows the effects of mass media (specifically the soap opera viewership that constitutes “media exposure”) in the low income context especially for women. Adopting a qualitative approach, also inspired by the New Audience Research in media studies, we conducted 40 in-depth interviews with Turkish women in poverty. Our findings show that identifying themselves with the fictional soap opera characters, women drive emotional fulfillment, at times finding what they lack in their everyday lives, such as love, friendship and power. On the other hand, being exposed to the affluent ‘other life’ has consequences on their well-being, deepening the contradiction between their current situation and what they perceive as the dominant way of living, eventually leading to dissatisfaction and hopelessness.

Author Bio

Aras Ozgun is a media artist and scholar, chairing the Cinema and Digital Media Department at İzmir University of Economics (İUE), Turkey, and teaching at Media Studies Graduate Program of the New School for Public Engagement, USA. He studied Political Science (B.Sc.) and Sociology (MS) at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, and Media Studies (MA) and Sociology (Ph.D.) at New School for Social Research in New York. He produces experimental media, photography and video works and writes on media, culture and politics.

Dicle Yurdakul is Assistant Professor of Marketing at Altinbas University. She earned her Ph.D. in Business Administration (Marketing major) from Izmir University of Economics in June 2013. She had been engaged as a Lecturer at Izmir University of Economics and taught marketing management, marketing research and retailing at graduate and post-graduate levels. She conducted her post-doctoral research at Koç University between February 2014 and September 2015. She is also performing as a consultant for UNDP in projects on the role of private sector in development. Her research interests lie in the fields of poverty research, consumer empowerment and sustainable development.

Deniz Atik is Associate Professor of Marketing, İzmir University of Economics (İUE), and founding co-editor of Markets, Globalization & Development Review. Dr. Atik’s research interest focuses on transformative consumer research and macromarketing, specifically theories of fashion, sustainability and vulnerable consumers. She has been contributing to well recognized academic marketing journals with her academic work, and teaching marketing and consumer culture related courses in USA, Japan, Italy, France, Kazakhstan and Turkey.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.