chapter  26
22 Pages

Toward a Process Theory of Consumer Vulnerability and Resilience: Illuminating Its Transformative Potential

ByStacey Menzel Baker, Marlys Mason

Consumer research widely acknowledges the role that the consumption of goods, services, and brands, as well as interactions with markets, plays in the construction, maintenance, and reconstitution of consumer identities (Arnould & # ompson, 2005; Baker, 2006; Belk, 1988). What is not as commonly recognized in the literature is the personal and social instability, or vulnerability, related to the lack of access to consumption and markets (Baker, Gentry, & Rittenburg, 2005; Hill, 2001; Ho man, Chapter 9 of this volume; Sachs, 2005). In other words, markets and consumption are sources of meaning, relational connections, and freedom on the one hand, and sources of risk, vulnerability, and social con$ ict on the other. As it turns out, both seemingly dichotomous perspectives are essential in highlighting the situational and sociocultural contexts within which consumer behavior transpires.