Consuming Digital Technologies and Enacting Identities: Mothers in Mundane Daily Life

  • Meera Venkatraman Suffolk University
Keywords: Digital technology, Army wives, consumption, identity, qualitative research


This manuscript examines mothers’ consumption of digital technologies to enact their individual, relational, and familial identities. Using phemenological interviews it finds mothers purposefully consume digital technologies to negotiate, construct, and enact identities. Specifically, mothers use a repertoire of four appropriation strategies: mastering, partnering, domesticating, and avoiding. Mastery is a multi-year project in which mothers enroll in digital educational programs, qualify, and create new professional identities. In domestication, mothers assert themselves on technology managing their inclusion/exclusion in the time and spaces of family life, thereby enacting parental identities. In contrast, partnering is collaborative; mothers consume those functionalities of technologies that help them enact their identities. In the strategy of avoidance, mothers enact their identities of being fiscally responsible, by refusing to engage with budget busting technologies. The implications of these findings for marketing new Internet of Things technologies in the smart home are discussed.

Author Biography

Meera Venkatraman, Suffolk University
Meera  Venkatraman is a Professor of Marketing at the Sawyer Business School, Suffolk University. This paper caps her research on consumption of innovations that began with her dissertation on consumer innovativeness in 1985 from the University of Pittsburgh. She has published in the Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Retailing, Psychology and Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, and Journal of Business Research.
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