City Research Online

Social Emotions and the Legitimation of the Fertility Technology Market

Mimoun, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-5173-312X, Trujillo-Torres, L. & Sobande, F. (2022). Social Emotions and the Legitimation of the Fertility Technology Market. Journal of Consumer Research, 48(6), pp. 1073-1095. doi: 10.1093/jcr/ucab043


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.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. 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 This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Consumer Research following peer review. The version of record will be available online at
Publisher Keywords: emotion, legitimation, feeling rule, assisted reproductive technology, innovation, controversy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
T Technology
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of ucab043.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (599kB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Mimoun et al 2021.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible due to copyright restrictions.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login