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Darren Dahl (Editor in Chief)Eileen FischerGita JoharVicki Morwitz

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

Hope Jensen Schau, Mary C. Gilly, Mary Wolfinbarger
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/597162 255-276 First published online: 1 August 2009


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 decisionmaking 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.

  • Aged Consumers
  • Life Course/Life Span
  • Self-Concept
  • Depth/Long Interviews
  • Ethnography
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