Through Pain and Perseverance: Liminality, Ritual Consumption, and the Social Construction of Gender in Contemporary Japan

  • Houston H
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Consumption during rites of passage have been relatively ignored in consumer behavior scholarship. This study addresses this void by examining the avoidance of pain medication by Japanese women during the hospital birth ritual. Thiscontemporary practice of consumption avoidance is used by Japanese women to "negotiate" theliquid terrain of liminality duringchildbirth.Partici-pant observation, depth interviews, and a review of cultural and historical texts are used to reveal two emergent themes: the cultural privileging of "naturaln over "artificial" birth and the existence of a mother-child dyad that is central to the cultural machinery of Japan.

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  • H Rika Houston

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