Counting the pennies: the cultural economy of charity shopping

Edwards, Delyth and Gibson, Lisanne (2017) Counting the pennies: the cultural economy of charity shopping. Cultural Trends, 26 (1). pp. 70-79. ISSN Print ISSN: 0954-8963 Online ISSN: 1469-3690 (Accepted for Publication)

[img] Text
Counting the Pennie Edwards and Gibson 2017.docx - Accepted Version

Download (27kB)


The Understanding Everyday Participation - Articulating Cultural Values (UEP) project is grounded in the belief that the current system for the support of culture promotes and privileges certain practices and activities, tastes, relationships and competences and that, crucially, this system has effects which extend outside of the cultural domain to the economic, political and social spheres. In order to challenge this dominance, UEP sets out to explore the meanings and values people attach to their ‘everyday participation’, with the aim of re-evaluating current understandings of cultural participation and cultural value (Miles and Gibson 2016). This article discusses UEP ethnographic research conducted within a charity shop in Manchester/ Salford. The charity shop is found to be a site fundamentally involved in the ‘cultural economy’, defined broadly to refer to the relations between the cultural and economic values of particular practices and institutions involved in cultural production and consumption. Existing research and theories on consumption have understood the charity shop as a place of cultural consumption, for certain subcultures that make informed or ‘clever’ choices regarding their identities (McRobbie 1989, Gregson and Crewe 2003). This article argues for an understanding of the charity shop as more than simply a place of consumption but as enmeshed within a set of relations between culture, economy and place which has effects in the social sphere. This research identifies a number of forms of participation, including consumption, but also extending to various production practices, volunteering and other forms of social interaction, which take place within and through the charity shop. We argue that these different types of participation are bound up in a differentially positioning cultural system which categorises people, places and values within and beyond the sphere of the charity shop.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Cultural Trends on 23 January 2017, available online:
Keywords: Charity shop, cultural consumption, cultural practice, cultural value, cultural economy, everyday participation
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Social Work, Care and Justice (up to 31st December 2017)
Depositing User: Delyth Edwards
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2017 15:32
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2017 15:32

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item