"Mothers of invention": Maternal empowerment and convenience consumption

Marylyn Carrigan*, Isabelle Szmigin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The paper explores how the complex relationship between consumption and production evolves as women enact their roles as mothers, and reconstruct their self-identity through their use or avoidance of convenience products.

Design/methodology/approach - Qualitative, individual interviews are used to allow an in-depth analysis of the life stories of the group of respondents. An interpretive analysis reveals the purpose, patterns and rules followed by these individuals in their actions.

Findings - Convenience consumption empowers these "mothers of invention" to instrumental and emotional autonomy through their rejection of unnecessary drudgery, and enables them to negotiate the role of caretaker within the family.

Research limitations/implications - The implications of the study suggest that there is a role for marketing to remove any vestiges of guilt in convenience consumption by addressing the issues of sustainability, nutrition, quality and value in convenience products. Future research should investigate whether these findings resonate cross-culturally and across broader socio-economic groups.

Originality/value - The paper reveals the importance of reinforcing the connections between a better quality of family care and love. The paper also demonstrates the importance of the interactions of the family members on convenience consumption. These findings are important for marketing practitioners and academics researching family consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1122-1142
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number9/10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2006


  • Consumer behaviour
  • Consumption
  • Empowerment
  • Family
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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