Becoming sensory disabled: Exploring self-transformation through rites of passage

mannequin-boisAnthony Beudaert, Nil Özçağlar-Toulouse, MeltemTüreb (2016). Published in Journal of Business Research Volume 69, Issue 1, January 2016, Pages 57-64.

Based on Van Gennep’s framework of rites of passage, this research examines the self-transformation process of consumers who acquire a sensory disability. The analysis of 15 in-depth interviews reveals a complex three-stage process. With the onset of disability, individuals experience a forced withdrawal from their consumption activities. This withdrawal gives way to liminality of undetermined duration, nurtured by consumers’ memories of the past, sufferings in the present, and fears of the future. Consumers achieve self-transformation by attributing new meanings to their consumption. These results have two contributions: (1) the liminal phase of the rite of passage has a multitemporal structure that might inhibit the formation of a new self and (2) redefining the boundaries of normalcy helps consumers achieve self-transformation.