Consumption Markets & Culture
When a gifting relationship is disrupted by death, why might a living consumer continue to invest in it? Consumer spending on deceased loved ones does not end with the funeral. Given the embodying power of a physical gravesite, this article examines the practice of gift giving to the deceased in the context of American cemeteries. We employ a longitudinal approach, in which 180 cemetery gravesites were photographed. The photographic data are coupled with a netnography of grief and bereavement communities. Findings support a restorative perspective of gift exchange. Bereaved consumers utilize restorative giving as a mechanism to cope with loss and maintain relationships with deceased loved ones. We outline five categories of gifts given to the deceased and present a framework of restorative giving practices. Implications are discussed in terms of identity development, symbolic communication, and reciprocity in gift giving, as deceased consumers continue to be recipients of tangible goods.
Drenten, Jenna M.; McManus, Kristy; and Labrecque, Lauren I.. Graves, Gifts, and the Bereaved Consumer: A Restorative Perspective of Gift Exchange. Consumption Markets & Culture, 20, 5: 423-455, 2017. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, School of Business: Faculty Publications and Other Works, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10253866.2017.1367680
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