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Medicinal commodities and the gift of a caring mother

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Journal of Consumer Culture

Published online on


Today, medications are central to both formal and familial healthcare systems. This article examines medications as ingrained and socio-culturally significant features of domestic landscapes. We consider the everyday medicative practices of four mothers who care for their chronically ill children in the home. Our analysis examines how these mothers navigate an information-rich environment to make decisions on what medications their children will consume. We document how participants develop expertise, research and administer medications, monitor their children’s reactions to medications and revise their efforts to care accordingly. Ideas about gifting provide new insights into the appropriation and transformation of medications within familial caregiving practices.