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Social emotions and the legitimation of the fertility technology market

Mimoun, Laetitia, Trujillo-Torres, Lez and Sobande, Francesca 2021. Social emotions and the legitimation of the fertility technology market. Journal of Consumer Research , ucab043. 10.1093/jcr/ucab043

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Using the sociology of emotions, we investigate the role of social emotions as a legitimating force in the market. In a longitudinal study of the media coverage surrounding U.S. fertility technologies, we find that legitimation involves the establishment of hierarchies among feeling rules, which dictate what social emotions are expressed toward markets, consumers, and technologies. We delineate three mechanisms (polarizing, reifying, and transforming social emotions) that are affected by trigger events such as product innovations and historical developments. These mechanisms work to (re)shape regulatory, normative, and cultural-cognitive legitimacy pillars, influencing the overall cultural attention paid to a market. Consequently, legitimation is ongoing and fragmented as the dominance of feeling rules varies across multiple entities and over time, with negative social emotions and controversies at times aiding this process rather than exclusively hindering it.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0093-5301
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 July 2021
Date of Acceptance: 10 June 2021
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2021 13:27

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