PurposeThis paper aims to examine how ambivalence and intergenerational support intersect with consumption in experiences of sharing within the family.Design/methodology/approachConsumer research studies usually use one of two family paradigms (i.e. solidarity and conflict), but the role of ambivalence in family ties is often neglected. This paper examines how ambivalence relates to adult intergenerational support, specifically within the context of sharing, consumption and family identity. In contrast to consumer research studies, sociological studies identify the intersection between intergenerational ambivalence and intergenerational support within family life. This study draws on sociology literature to interpret data from phenomenological interviews with downwardly mobile Greek consumers involved in familial intergenerational support and sharing. The voices of adult recipients and providers of resources are captured, and the transcribed interview texts are analysed using a phenomenological-hermeneutical process.FindingsThree types of consumer ambivalence were identified that reflected different types of conflicts between consumption choices and different levels of family identity (collective, relational and individual).Research limitations/implicationsFuture research should explore ambivalence and family sharing in different family structures and during different transitions. Future research should also investigate how this study’s findings resonate in societies less affected by austerity measures with stronger welfare states that nevertheless experience a rise in intergenerational support.Originality/valueThe study problematises previously somewhat polarised (i.e. positive vs bleak) views of the family in consumer research. Family sharing is highlighted as a major antecedent to consumer ambivalence, and different types of consumer ambivalence within intergenerational relationships within families are conceptualised. This paper proposes an extended typology of coping strategies aligned along a practical–emotional continuum.
European Journal of Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 11, 2016
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