Journal of Consumer Behaviour

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Volume 15 Issue 5 (September/October 2016), Pages 385-489

So hard to say goodbye? An investigation into the symbolic aspects of unintended disposition practices (pages 420-429)


Even though disposition is present in the consumer behavior research agenda, most of the studies focus mainly on intentional movements of products leaving the home. The present article describes a less conscious and co‐incidental journey of products into a liminal zone between use and disposal inside homes. A qualitative field study, based on the itinerary method, was undertaken with a group of 26 affluent women in Brazil. The findings show that consumers maintain purgatories – “forgotten” repositories of products no longer in use – as an in‐home disposition practice. The aspects and functioning of purgatory are also detailed, through a typology of purgatories and a discussion of specific strategies to deal with cluttering as a consequence of product accumulation inside homes. Finally, purgatories emerge as a contemporary consumer solution to deal not with individual products but with product collectivities' disposition. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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