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Susanna MolanderUniversitetslektor, docent

Om mig

Jag är docent i företagsekonomi och lektor vid marknadsföringssektionen, Företagsekonomiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet. Jag disputerade vid Stockholms universitet 2011 på avhandlingen Mat, kärlek och metapraktik: En studie i vardagsmiddagskonsumtion bland ensamstående mödrar inspirerad av min interdisciplinära bakgrund inom företagsekonomi och etnologi. Min interdisciplinära bakgrund kom också väl till pass när jag arbetade som lektor vid Centrum för modevetenskap på Humanistiska fakulteten vid Stockholms universitet. Utöver mitt uppdrag vid Företagsekonomiska institutionen är jag affilierad forskare vid Center for Arts, Business and Culture vid Stockholm School of Economics Research Institute samt var visiting scholar vid City University New York, the Graduate Center under åren 2017-2019.



I min forskning studerar jag hur vi använder konsumtion som en symbolisk resurs för att uttrycka vår förståelse för världen, däribland vår identitet och tillhörighet. Jag intresserar mig främst för vardagen och det meningsskapande som genomsyrar våra rutiner, inte minst de rutiner som präglar föräldraskap. Häri ingår också hur politiska projekt formar konsumtionen som symbolisk resurs. På senare tid har jag också intresserat mig för hur varumärken måste anpassa sig till konsumtionskulturer i ständig förändring. Metodfrågor är ett annat stort intresse.  Min forskning har publicerats i journaler såsom Journal of Consumer Research, Qualitative Market Research an International Journal, Marketing Theory, Consumption, Markets and Culture, Research in Consumer Behavior, Advances in Consumer Research och internationella antologier.


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • A gendered agency of good enough

    2021. Susanna Molander. Consumption, markets & culture 24 (2), 194-216


    Prior research has shown how global marketplace ideologies have grown in influence at the expense of the state. This study shows how state ideologies can gain momentum and encourage new forms of consumer agency. Based on Swedish single fathers' everyday childcare, it illustrates how agency is negotiated as fathers navigate between a progressive state ideology of gender equality and a traditional marketplace ideology of intensive mothering. Swedish fathers are drawn to the practice of childcare and forming emotional bonds with their children - yet with a gendered consumer agency of good enough that differs from mothers' agency. The findings have implications beyond the context of Swedish fathers. Firstly, they underscore the importance of taking the state into account regarding consumption, markets and culture. Secondly, they detail the interplay and tensions between ideology and everyday life and thirdly, they illustrate that while traditional gender structures tend to run deep, they can change.

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  • Hero shots

    2019. Susanna Molander, Ingeborg Astrid Kleppe, Jacob Östberg. Consumption, markets & culture 22 (4), 430-453


    In this paper, we explore how visual expressions of culture offer new discursive territory within which consumer cultural ideals can be negotiated on a global scale. Through a critical visual analysis of the revelatory case Swedish Dads we find hero shots depicting involved fathers where children’s needs and the hermetic confines of the home take center stage, as opposed to the traditional fatherhood ideals portrayed in western contemporary advertising, media and popular culture. We demonstrate how the Swedish state’s gender ideology was encoded into a communicative event in the form of hero shots and subsequently dispersed by visual consumers as well as political and commercial stakeholders pushing this particular agenda and/or capitalizing on its tendencies. This in such a way that the event conquered new discursive territory fostering new types of consumer cultural negotiations on fatherhood ideals also in other cultural settings.

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  • Swedish single fathers feeding the family

    2019. Susanna Molander. Feeding Children Inside and Outside the Home, 156-173


    With fatherhood currently in a state of flux, the following chapter on Swedish single fathers cooking for their children shows that these caregiving fathers’ masculinities remain relatively intact. While staying firmly anchored in one’s professional identity, these days the caregiving father fits in with the ideal of Swedish masculinity. But even if it is fairly common among Swedish middle class fathers to share responsibility for their children if the parents separate, fathers’ engagement with their children is not yet taken for granted and expectations are lower than for mothers. The fathers in this study had a rather pragmatic approach to cooking that took departure from their own cooking interest and capabilities. Three themes characterized the men’s various approaches: i) Cooking as an interest; ii) Cooking as a hardship and iii) Cooking as a part of life. Independent of their approach, most of the men’s cooking emerged as instrumental and matter-of-factly. Their relation to the market was characterized by pragmatism rather than worry and they saw no problem in retreating to market solutions every now and then. Without the pursuit of self-sacrifice, their cooking emerged as an expression of love and care for their children.

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  • Emotion and practice

    2018. Susanna Molander, Benjamin Julien Hartmann. Marketing Theory 18 (3), 371-390


    While emotions are a central facet of consumer culture, relatively little is known about how they are tied to the embodied and tacit aspects of everyday living. This article explores how practices organize emotions and vice versa. Pairing Schatzki's teleoaffective structure with emotions understood as intensities that are deeply inscribed in the structural blueprints of practices, we propose that the organization of emotions and practices is recursive and based on three teleoaffective episodes: anticipating, actualizing, and assessing. To illustrate this, we present an analysis of empirical material from an ethnographic study on mothering. The practice-emotion link we unfold contributes to understanding the operation of emotions in consumer culture by specifying how practices and emotions are co-constitutive. This offers novel insights into the embodied and routinized nature of emotions, illuminates the connection between practices and individuals, and highlights the role of emotions in practice change.

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  • Not just a mother

    2017. Susanna Molander. Consumption, markets & culture 20 (2), 131-152


    Consumer socialization is usually associated with young consumers, but transitions that require learning new types of consumption patterns can occur at any point in life. Although the literature on transitional consumers is quite fragmented, an important body of consumer research explores transitional consumers from the perspective of role theory. Nonetheless, role theory has not problematized learning and due to its static nature role theory tends to overlook how consumer learning becomes embodied over time as well as how this learning is affected by experiences from related practices. With a practice theory approach to learning and based on an ethnographic study of mothering through dinner consumption, this paper highlights learning as an embodied experience influenced by the practitioners’ positioning in time and space as well as by multiple sources among which the market has become increasingly important.

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  • Food, love and metapractices

    2011. Susanna Molander. Research in Consumer Behavior, 77-92


    Purpose: To develop Consumer Culture Theory's practice perspective to increase the understanding of the consumption context and thereby of the sociohistoric patterning of consumption.

    Design/methodology/approach: An ethnographic exploration of how the different practices involved in a consumption situation, like the everyday dinner among single mothers, contextualized consumption.

    Findings: The chapter concludes that mothering, defined as a metapractice, dominated the consumption situation and organized the other practices involved.

    Originality/value: Introducing the concept of meta-practices having a major influence over our consumption and thus a type of practice consumption research should look for.

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  • Mat, kärlek och metapraktik

    2011. Susanna Molander (et al.).

    Avhandling (Dok)

    The everyday dinner usually involves a number of different and sometimes conflicting ambitions that may include striving for self-fulfillment and striving to care for one’s family and society at large. To understand the consumption that occurs in connection with these ambitions, consumer researchers must understand the context surrounding the everyday dinner. In this dissertation theories of practice are utilized as a conceptual framework to emphasize the importance of context.

    Theories of practice have gained renewed interest within the field of consumption. Yet, Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) has neglected practice theories’ ability to operationalize the consumption context. The aim of this dissertation is to develop further CCT’s practice perspective to increase the understanding of the consumption context and thereby better understand consumption as a social and cultural phenomenon. An ethnographic approach is employed to identify what practices operate within a complex consumption situation such as the everyday dinner among single mothers; how these practices incorporate consumption in their strivings and how the different practices operating within the consumption situation interact with one another.

    This new approach comes to the conclusion that mothering, defined as a meta-practice, dominated the consumption situation and organized the other practices involved. A meta-practice is one with major influence over consumption and thus a type of practice consumption researchers should look for. Furthermore in Western society consumption situations, like the everyday dinner, seem to be especially important when it comes to anchoring meta-practices and thereby the social order. A preliminary characterization of the meta-practice is proposed as consisting of four different traits: I) its impact on the social order; II) its generalizability, density and superiority; III) its regulation and IV) its stability or slow change. However, more studies are necessary to explore these characteristics further.

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  • “We've decided it all together"

    2019. Celine Del Bucchia, Susanna Molander, Lisa Penaloza. Advances in Consumer Research 47, 367-371


    This qualitative study explores how mothers negotiate ideals of intensive mothering in the context of the family dinner. Findings show mothers involving children in the meal, resulting in an educational and enjoyable experience. Theoretical implications show these collaborations empowering mothers to cope with and challenge the ideals of intensive mothering.

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  • The bad boy archetype as a morally ambiguous complex of juvenile masculinities

    2020. Ahir Gopaldas, Susanna Molander. Consumption, markets & culture 23 (1), 81-93


    In this article, we explore why the bad boy is a popular archetype inadvertising, erotica, fashion, journalism, movies, songs, television serials, andother forms of commercial culture. First, we interpret the bad boy as acombination of juvenile masculinities (aggression, rebellion, hypersexuality),appealing qualities (charisma, ruggedness, sensitivity), and moral ambiguities(via confusion, contradiction, and cumulation), which keep audiencesengaged. Second, we trace the evolution of these meanings in over acentury of American popular culture. Third, we reveal the many commercialfaces of the bad boy in the contemporary marketplace, including as anarchetypal brand positioning strategy, a transformative protagonist in eroticfiction, an unapologetic voice for macho fantasies, a beguiling object ofirrational love, a journalistic frame for polarizing masculinities, and aninexhaustible source of dramatic tension. In the final analysis, the bad boyarchetype is a contemporary marketplace icon because it has historicallybeen good at channeling all kinds of bad.

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  • Brand Morphogenesis

    2022. Susanna Molander, Jacob Östberg, Lisa Penaloza. Journal of consumer research


    How do brands change in environments defined by increasing consumer heterogeneity? Drawing on assemblage theory, this research develops the concepts of brand morphogenesis and consumer sub-assemblage to explain how heterogeneous consumer groups instigate, reinforce, and hinder the evolution of a brand. This longitudinal case study of a Swedish fashion brand delineates the role of heterogeneous consumer sub-assemblages in the continual process of emergence and transformation of a brand assemblage through space and time—a process defined as brand morphogenesis. The findings detail brand morphogenesis in the sub-assemblage dynamics of exploration, actualization, and habituation of value, as heterogeneous consumer groups form consumer sub-assemblages in interaction with other brand components and interact in patterns of coexisting with, coopting, and contesting other sub-assemblages. By charting consumers’ value negotiations as they play out within and among consumer sub-assemblages, this research contributes to understanding continuity and change for brands that face increasing consumer heterogeneity.

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