So hard to say goodbye? An investigation into the symbolic aspects of unintended disposition practices

Suarez, Maribel; Campos, Roberta Dias; Casotti, Leticia Moreira and Velloso, Luciana. 2016. So hard to say goodbye? An investigation into the symbolic aspects of unintended disposition practices. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 15(5), pp. 420-429. ISSN 1472-0817 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Even though disposition is present in the consumer behavior research agenda, most of the studies focus mainly on intentional movements of products leaving the home. The present article describes a less conscious and co-incidental journey of products into a liminal zone between use and disposal inside homes. A qualitative field study, based on the itinerary method, was undertaken with a group of 26 affluent women in Brazil. The findings show that consumers maintain purgatories – “forgotten” repositories of products no longer in use – as an in-home disposition practice. The aspects and functioning of purgatory are also detailed, through a typology of purgatories and a discussion of specific strategies to deal with cluttering as a consequence of product accumulation inside homes. Finally, purgatories emerge as a contemporary consumer solution to deal not with individual products but with product collectivities’ disposition.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


disposition, consumer behaviour, itinerary method

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


22 March 2016Accepted
4 September 2016Published
25 April 2016Published Online
25 April 2014Submitted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

14 Nov 2018 10:11

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:58

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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