Volume 26, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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During the Great Recession, discourses of what constituted prosperity flooded the global landscape. The concept of prosperity became a prominent master narrative that dictated the ways families operated and made decisions. The goal of this study was to examine how 82 married couples experiencing economic uncertainty in California (re)negotiated their family narratives of wealth and prosperity in the wake of the Great Recession. The findings revealed that few, if any, couples were able to communicatively re-define prosperity in a way that wholly resisted or rejected the master narrative of material wealth. The narratives demonstrated how this master narrative held many of these families captive by restricting their ability to reconstitute their understanding of prosperity in productive ways even when the taken-for-granted meaning of prosperity-as-wealth was challenged during the Great Recession. The families who successfully re-defined prosperity depended on other dominant discourses such as health, faith, family quality and relationships to refuse or repudiate the master narrative of wealth as prosperity. The findings support Lindemann-Nelson’s (2001) argument that successfully overcoming a master narrative often requires a patchwork of resistance strategies that permeate daily discourse, before they begin to chip away at the larger dominant discourse.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): financial communication; Great Recession; master narratives
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