Consumption, consumerism, consumption rituals, reproduction, motherhood, babies, baby shower, gift registration, social construction, reality construction, need, qualitative methods
Rock-a-Buy Baby: Consumerism by New, First-Time Mothers, is the first known sociological exploration of need-based consumption for babies, despite the baby gear industry being a $6-billion-dollar business (whattoexpect.com). Data stemmed from qualitative, semistructured interviews with new, first-time mothers (3 months – 1 year postpartum) conducted within participants‘ households. The insights gained from the present study tell us a great deal about the ―needs‖ that predominantly white, middle-class mothers socially constructed in anticipation of their first child, and the consumptive behaviors used to accomplish these "needs." Respondents had turned to similar resources (other mothers, online forums, consumer reports, books, magazines, etc.) to help them construct ―need‖ and formulate decisions among commodities. Provided they were relying on comparable, if not overlapping, bodies of knowledge, mothers‘ narratives about consumer ―need‖ were often congruent. Additionally, the ways expectant mothers accumulated items are ritualized and made tradition. The baby shower and gift registration process (which all of my respondents participated in to some variation) are social constructions; these practices, which are so strongly tied to consumption, also constituted reality for mothers, and inevitably, their babies.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Afflerback, Sara, "Rock-a-buy Baby: Consumerism By New, First-time Mothers" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 2448.