Purpose: Market logics have increasingly dominated consumer life worlds. Consumers may embrace marketization, or they may resist it, try to escape it, rebel against it, or…
Purpose: Market logics have increasingly dominated consumer life worlds. Consumers may embrace marketization, or they may resist it, try to escape it, rebel against it, or actively manage its effects. This chapter examines the marketization of elderly care (in the form of transactional service provider relationships) and how consumers apply humanizing strategies to market relationships.
Methodology/Approach: This is a qualitative interpretive study using in-depth interviewing, observations, and the analysis of media coverage.
Findings: Drawing on institutional theory, this study shows how consumers humanize a marketized service relationship by weaving social logics into existing market logics. Our research finds consumers engaging in three humanization strategies: (1) moving beyond transactional relationships; (2) sharing consumption experiences; and (3) reinforcing social bonds through giving. The end result is the do-it-yourself (DIY) creation of extended family relationships from market resources.
Social Implications: The context of this study is a government-supported, non-profit, exchanged-based retirement support scheme that addresses the challenges of global population aging and the increasing anonymization and estrangement in our society. The authors tentatively suggest that our findings represent a move to mitigate adverse effects of neoliberalism.
Originality/Value of the Paper: Prior research has shown that consumers embrace marketization, resist it, try to escape it, rebel against it, or actively manage its effects. The authors identify another strategy used by consumers to address the increasing marketization of their life worlds, namely humanization. This study shows that consumers assemble market resources and humanize transactional service provider relationships by weaving social- into market logics resulting in the creation of a DIY extended family.
We introduce the concept of social-economic innovation (SEI) and point to cultural challenges involved in instituting SEI. In the second part of the paper, we delve into…
We introduce the concept of social-economic innovation (SEI) and point to cultural challenges involved in instituting SEI. In the second part of the paper, we delve into the alternative exchange system of “Housing for help” (HFH) to explore the challenging negotiation of roles and relations by participants and organizers of HFH.
The study primarily relies on interviews conducted with HFH participants and organizers.
We outline the challenges of categorization and slippage in social-economic exchange systems that combine multiple logics of exchange. While primarily focused on the micro context of relational dynamics occurring between participants, the respective cultural challenges are also discussed in light of institutional problems.
The introduction of the concept of SEI prepares ground for a more coordinated study of the cultural processes and challenges involved in instituting unconventional social-economic systems. The paucity of existent research and the preliminary nature of our study call for further investigation.
The study informs individual and institutional efforts to negotiate unconventional systems of exchange, in particularly in contexts of prolonged, intergenerational co-habitation.
We provide an umbrella concept that ties together existent research and opens new avenues for systematic cultural study. Further, we uncover a fertile context for exploration and take preliminary steps toward unraveling the challenging relational dynamics in SEI.