The purpose of this paper is to explore the types of ethical challenges and dilemmas researchers face when engaging in family consumption research.
Drawing from the concept of micro-ethics to bridge reflexivity with ethics in practice, the paper provides a reflexive account of the various ethical dilemmas encountered by two family consumption scholars during their fieldwork. Both researchers conducted qualitative research on family meals.
The paper reveals five types of ethical tensions that can arise when doing research on family consumption. These tensions are addressed as display, positioning, emotional, practical and consent dilemmas, all of which have ethical implications. The findings unpack these dilemmas, showing empirical and reflexive accounts of the researchers as they engage in ethics in practice. Solutions and practical strategies for dealing with these ethical tensions are provided.
Despite the growing interest in interpretive family research, there is less attention on the ethical and emotional challenges researchers face when entering the family consumption scape. As researching families involves entering an intimate area of participants’ lives, the field may be replete with tensions that may affect the researcher. This paper brings the concept of micro-ethics to family marketing literature, showing how researchers can do ethics in practice. The paper draws on reflexive accounts of two researchers’ personal experiences, showing their emotional, practical, positioning and display challenges. It also provides practical strategies for researchers to deal with dilemmas in the field.
This paper aims to examine how Mulino Bianco, an iconic Italian bakery brand, has reshaped the symbolic and material aspects of breakfast in Italy, transforming a…
This paper aims to examine how Mulino Bianco, an iconic Italian bakery brand, has reshaped the symbolic and material aspects of breakfast in Italy, transforming a declining practice into a common family occasion.
A socio-historical analysis of the iconisation process has been undertaken with a framework for investigating the symbolic, material and practice-based aspects of the brand and their changes over time. Archival marketing material, advertising campaigns and interviews with brand managers constitute the main data for analysis.
Three crucial moments have been identified in which the brand articulates its relationship with the practice of breakfast. During the launch of the brand, the articulation was mainly instigated via the myths of tamed nature and rural past and the material aspect of the products reinforced such an articulation. In the second moment, the articulation was established with the brand’s materiality, emphasised through the use of promotional items targeting mothers and children. In the last phase, a cementification of the articulation was achieved mainly via the symbolic aspect of the brand – communicating Mulino Bianco as emblematic of a new family life in which the “Italian breakfast” was central.
Theoretically, this paper advances the understanding of the pervasive influence of brands in family life, showing how they do not simply reshape existing family food practices, rather they can re-create new ones, investing them with symbolic meanings, anchoring them with novel materiality and equipping consumers with new understandings and competences.