Donna MacLellan

PhD Student

University of Glasgow


Working title of PhD: Young women and consumer culture

Supervisors: Dr. Susan Anusas Batchelor and Professor Gerda Reith, University of Glasgow

Year commencing studies: Criminology MRes: 2015 – 2017. PhD start date: 2017

Funding source: ESRC 1+3  Criminology and Sociolegal Studies Pathway

Young women and girls are increasingly confronted with, or constructed within, influential images and messages of consumer culture and celebrity status. Through various media outlets, including many social media platforms that individually tailor advertising to match users’ search histories and future desires, young women’s dreams and aspirations are structured in terms of celebrity-like success and material gains. The pressures to be glamorous and to ‘have it all’ – or at least to look like one does – is increasingly being marketed to teenage girls, stimulating new patterns of consumption. Initially, the study began with an intention to explore young women’s acquisitive offending, such as shoplifting, within contemporary consumer society. However, guided by feminist criminologist Maureen Cain’s suggestion to ‘start from the outside’ (1990: 9), Donna has shifted her research frame beyond the criminological boundary to focus on ‘ordinary’ young women’s consumption patterns and practices; the meanings, values and experiences of these consumption practices; and the structural and cultural contexts that surround and impact/influence these practices. This research will provide valuable and significant contributions to the fields of girlhood and consumption studies, at the same time offering an understanding of young women’s lives within our consumer-orientated society that may assist feminist criminological enquiry into young women’s acquisitive offending. It will also add to wider theoretical and empirical conversations relating to leisure and youth studies and provide the researcher with vital experiences in engaging with young women using innovative and creative qualitative research methods.

Cain, M. (1990) ‘Towards Transgression: New Directions in Feminist Criminology’ International Journal of the Sociology of Law 18(1), 1-18.



University of Glasgow

University of Glasgow
Ivy Lodge
63 Gibson St
G12 8LR

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