Valuing the “Professional” in an International Direct-Selling Organization: The Commodification of Class Identity in Southern Costa Rica



“4Life” is an American nutritional supplement company that entered Costa Rica in 2004. Its representatives portray their company as a provider of new forms of work and consumption that anyone can embrace, regardless of age, socioeconomic status or gender to enhance their material returns and social status. The appeal is especially strong for older women who increasingly face part-time work, irregular scheduling and remuneration, and few or no fringe benefits. Informed by scholarship on work, consumption, and identity, this article combines a political economic perspective with a sociolinguistic approach in order to unpack the economic and social implications of employment in direct sales positions.