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Consumer Identity Renaissance: The Resurgence of Identity‐Inspired Consumption in Retirement

  • Hope Jensen Schau
  • Mary C. Gilly
  • Mary Wolfinbarger
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    Using multimethod data, we investigate retirement as a life stage centered on consumption, where cultural scripts are particularly contested and in flux and where we witness an increase in breadth and depth of identity‐related consumption, which we term consumer identity renaissance. While prior research on older consumers focuses on corporeal and cognitive decline and its impact on individual decision‐making situations, our attention is drawn to the competency and growth potential of those who have exited their formal productive stage and privilege consumption as a means to create and enact identity. Contrary to the received view of older consumers simply reviewing and integrating their already developed identities, we find retirement can be a time of extensive identity work with multiple revived and emergent inspirations weaving across all time orientations (past, present, and future) and involving intricate consumption enactments.

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    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 255 - 276

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:doi:10.1086/597162
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