Thesis Defence
“A sense of who we are”: Towards a better understanding of family identity negotiation through consumption

Mathilde Hedon Lapostolle

Mathilde Hedon Lapostolle, PhD candidate will publicly defend her thesis in Management Sciences.

5 July 2024
9 a.m. (CET - GMT+1)

Attend the defence
(on campus or online)


This paper-based dissertation aims at improving the understanding of the process of negotiation of family identity.

As a major social unit that shapes consumption behaviors, family is a growing topic in consumer research. This paper-based dissertation aims at improving the understanding of the process of negotiation of family identity.

The first (conceptual) article demonstrates the relevance of the lens of family identity to enlighten many consumption practices. It provides a comprehensive overview of the fertility of this lens in terms of research topics and theoretical contributions and shows how adopting it can offer concrete understanding and solutions to major current consumption trends.

The second (empirical) article focuses on the reconstruction process through consumption of a destabilized family identity after a major life disruption. It uncovers the market-based strategies that consumers implement to minimize the tensions generated by exogenous major life disruptions that destabilize family identity and unveils the specific role of brands in each of these strategies.

The third (empirical) article deals with the management through consumption of tensions that result from identity interplay within couples. It unveils identity tensions that couples experience while negotiating their identities, as well as the consumption strategies that they implement on a daily basis to navigate these tensions.

All together, these three studies contribute to a better understanding of family identity negotiation, both in mundane consumption contexts and more exceptional consumption moments. This doctoral research thus contributes to the literature on family identity and sheds lights on a whole range of consumer behaviors.

Keywords: Family identity negotiation, Family consumption, Identity tensions management, Identity reconstruction, Major life disruptions, Consumer culture theory.



  • Prof. Julien Schmitt
    Professor, ESCP Business School

Referees & Suffragants:

  • Prof. Delphine DION,
    ESSEC Business School
  • Prof. Kristine DE VALCK,
    HEC Paris
  • Prof. Stéphanie FEIEREISEN,
    Montpellier Business School
  • Prof. Laetitia MIMOUN,
    ESCP Business School
    University of Lille