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Productive Consumption in the Class-Mediated Construction of Domestic Masculinity: Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Home Improvement in Men's Identity Work

Risto Moisio, Eric J. Arnould and James W. Gentry

Journal of Consumer Research, 2013, vol. 40, issue 2, 298 - 316

Abstract: In the context of do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement, this article extends theorizing on productive consumption, domestic masculinity, and social class. Based on interviews with informants varying in cultural capital endowments, the findings reveal that productive consumption shapes domestic masculinity in relation to class-mediated identity conflicts and ideals. Among high-cultural-capital (HCC) informants, DIY home improvement counters the burdens of knowledge work. The suburban home materializes as a leisurely venue for productive consumption where HCC informants fashion themselves as suburban-craftsmen involved in autotherapeutic labor. Low-cultural-capital (LCC) informants' involvement in DIY home improvement is animated by a different identity conflict and identity ideal. Due to limits on fulfilling normative expectations for economic provisioning, LCC informants liken home to a workplace. Through productive consumption at home, LCC informants enact an identity ideal of family-handyman, thus fashioning themselves as rightful, masculine family stewards.

Date: 2013
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