Exploring the Role Grandfathers Play in the Consumer Socialisation of Grandchildren

Ben Kerrane, Katie Kerrane, Shona Bettany

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper investigates the role grandfathers play in the consumer socialisation of children. Studies of consumer socialisation, exploring how children acquire the skills needed to function in the marketplace (Ward, 1974), more usually concentrate on parents’ voices and socialisation efforts within the family setting (Kerrane and Hogg, 2013). However, given changes in family life (e.g. the rise of dual-income families, women’s greater participation in the labour force, rising divorce rates), grandparents play increasingly visible roles in raising contemporary children. Within the UK, the site of our study, grandparents spend on average 8 hours per week looking after their grandchildren (Buchanan and Rotkirch, 2018) – findings which are similar across Europe (Di Gessa et al., 2016) and other countries, such as the US (Laughlin, 2013) and China (Ban et al., 2017).
Grandmothers are often used as lens to understand grandparental roles (Buchanan and Rotkirch, 2018; Tarrant, 2012) despite more active participation of grandfathers in family life. In this paper, we explore the role grandfathers play as socialization agents, recognizing: that the study of the consumption behaviours and input of individuals heading towards the latter stages of the lifecourse is surprisingly limited (Barnhart and Penaloza, 2013); the paucity of research that explicitly investigates grandfatherhood (Mann, 2007); and that the transition to grandfatherhood offers men opportunity to contest and challenge hegemonic masculinity and traditional breadwinner norms (Sorenson and Cooper, 2010) in favour of a more supportive and involved style of intensive grandparenting. In doing so, we offer a nuanced understanding of familial consumer socialization processes which captures input between the grandfather/grandchild dyad.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Advances of Consumer Research Conference
Subtitle of host publicationACR 2021
EditorsTanya Williams Bradford, Anat Keinan, Matthew Thomson
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2021
EventAssociation for Consumer Research Conference 2021 - Virtual conference, Seattle, United States
Duration: 28 Oct 202131 Oct 2021

Publication series

NameAdvances in Consumer Research
PublisherSheridan Books
ISSN (Print)0098-9258


ConferenceAssociation for Consumer Research Conference 2021
Abbreviated titleACR 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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