Living Legacies: Exploring Influences on Family Consumption Behavior

Living Legacies: Exploring Influences on Family Consumption Behavior

Session Chair: Eric J. Arnould, University of Arizona

Discussant: Suraj Commuri, University of Missouri

Enacting the Family Legacy: How Family Themes Influence Consumption Behavior

Amber M. Epp, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Eric J. Arnould, University of Arizona


Studied across diverse disciplines, researchers have demonstrated that family legacies are powerful drivers of behavior, but consumer researchers lack an understanding of how legacies shape consumption-related behavior in particular. Specifically, this study explores how families’ intangible legacies or narrative themes influence family consumption behavior. We examine both the processes of influence and the consumption-related outcomes relevant to identity. Based on projective research and narrative analysis, study findings offer preliminary indications of the diverse and evocative influences that family legacies have on consumer activities and contribute to research streams on collective identity projects, socialization processes and intergenerational transfers. 


Maybe It IS Your Father’s Oldsmobile: The Symbolic Dimensions of Intergenerationally Transferred Possessions and the Adoption of Corresponding Possession Meanings

Carolyn F. Curasi, Georgia State University


Although research suggests that some familial possessions serve as symbolic vehicles with the ability to imaginatively extend the family forward in time, the role of possessions in constructing and preserving group identity has received little quantitative research attention.  Consumers’ feelings about familial possessions, the symbolic dimensions of these items and the generalizability of these feelings are examined in this personal interview and survey-based research employing a national, random sample.  Quantitative and qualitative findings suggest that consumers care very deeply about possessions received from older family members and identify with the values expressed in the accompanying stories.  Thus, maybe it is your father’s Oldsmobile. 


Money and Meaning:  The Role of Social Capital in Inter Vivos Gifting

Tonya P. Williams, Northwestern University.


Money has been recognized as having the potential to transfer meaning based on its sources and uses.  The relationship between money, as an asset, and consumer behavior has been examined with a focus on the individual.  The intergenerational consumer behavior literature provides theorizing on meaning transfer through possessions.  This research seeks to understand intergenerational meaning transfer via assets, an alienable possession.  The preliminary analysis of 53 depth interviews provides insight to assets as vehicles for intergenerational meaning transfer and sustenance.  A conceptual model centered on social capital is presented as the medium of meaning transfer via assets intergenerationally.


Session Chair: Eric Arnould and Discussion Leader: Suraj Commuri (2006) ,"Living Legacies: Exploring Influences on Family Consumption Behavior", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33, eds. Connie Pechmann and Linda Price, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 82-86.


Session Chair: Eric Arnould, University of Nebraska
Discussion Leader: Suraj Commuri, University of Missouri


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33 | 2006

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