Buying into motherhood? Problematic consumption and ambivalence in transitional phases

S. O'Donohoe, Andrea Davies, S. Dobscha, S. Geiger, L. O'Malley, A. Prothero, E. Sorensen, T. Thomsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Current theory on transitional consumption seems to rest on the premises that (1) consumption facilitates role transitions; (2) consumers know how to consume their way through these transitions; (3) consumers are motivated to approach new roles; and (4) consumption solves liminality. This perspective, however, offers an incomplete picture of consumption’s role in the management of major life transitions. This article explores the ways in which ambivalence is woven through consumption experiences in times of liminality. It reviews prior research on consumption, role transitions, and ambivalence in the context of women’s transition into motherhood. Findings are presented from an international interpretive study of women’s consumption experiences during their transition to motherhood. This paper’s findings suggest that while consumption can indeed play a positive role during role transitions, it can also, at other times, make transition a complicated, complex and confusing process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-397
Number of pages25
JournalConsumption, Markets and Culture
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • consumption
  • ambivalence
  • transition
  • identity
  • motherhood
  • uncertainty
  • resistance
  • responsability
  • constraints
  • aspirations


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