Date of Award

August 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Celeste Campos-Castillo

Committee Members

Jennifer Jordan, Marcus Britton, Stanislav Dobrev


categorical imperative, categories, cognitive, emotions, ice cream, taken-for-granted


This dissertation uses two articles to examine the outcomes that occur when the taken-for-granted status of products like ice cream is disrupted. In chapter one, I conduct an overview of the categorical imperative, which asserts that products must possess category typical features to receive rewards, and how taken-for-grantedness mitigates this process. In chapter two, I discuss how products come to be taken-for-granted and how this status can lead to penalties or rewards. In chapter three, I present my first empirical chapter, where I assess the outcomes of two cases involving ice cream products losing their taken-for-granted status. For the first case, I used news articles to assess the outcomes of American branded ice creams entering markets in Asian countries. The findings, in part, reveal that American branded ice creams were rewarded as Asian countries had significantly higher positive emotional tones in their news articles that discussed these products, compared to articles from the US. Second, I used reddit to assess how individuals responded to the FDA recategorizing Breyers’ products as frozen dairy desserts. The findings, in part, reveal that scores for reddit posts increase when posts punished Breyers for the recategorization. In chapter four, I detail my second empirical chapter, where I observe the outcomes of individuals paying closer attention to ice cream when craft producers enter an existing market. Using Yelp reviews from the San Francisco Bay Area, I show that increased competition from craft ice cream causes mass producing ice cream shops to experience penalties (decreases in Yelp ratings and positive emotions directed towards them). With these articles, I show that the ways taken-for-grantedness is disrupted (agentically or through constraint), can inform outcomes.

Included in

Sociology Commons