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    Comfort, pleasure and schadenfreude: extending affect into neutralisation theory among UK Brexit prepping consumers in crisis

    Bettany, Shona, Kerrane, Benedict ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2114-5965, Rowe, David and Kerrane, Katy (2022) Comfort, pleasure and schadenfreude: extending affect into neutralisation theory among UK Brexit prepping consumers in crisis. In: 2022 AMA Winter Academic Conference, 10 February 2022 - 20 February 2022, Las Vegas.

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    Abstract

    This paper extends neutralisation theory in the light of contemporary discontinuous changes to household food consumption in the UK. This change follows heightened consumer-perceived resource scarcity wrought by the Brexit crisis and it’s segue into the Covid-19 pandemic. Our respondent cohort of self-identified “Brexit prepping” middle-class mothers, more accustomed to provisioning for fresh, healthy, and wholesome food for their families within traditional structures of good motherhood, have increased provisioning, storage and consumption of less-healthy alternatives (such as packaged, tinned and preservative-enhanced convenience foods) and augmented this with luxury items, including alcohol and sweet treats. Our respondents utilise a series of neutralisation strategies for this consumption activity including short-term affect-laden justifications, these include short-term comfort relating to self-care (particularly regarding mental-health and wellbeing assessments), pleasure in developing new competencies and skills, and even Schadenfreude towards non-prepping (m)others. We develop the neutralisation theory array to account for this current trend in consumption behaviour, and particularly in terms of introducing affect-laden neutralisations to augment the predominantly cognitive and rationalisation-based underpinning of classic neutralisation theory.

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