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Inscribing the Personal Myth: The Role of Tattoos in Identification

Research in Consumer Behavior

ISBN: 0-7623-1304-8, eISBN: 978-1-84855-985-1

Publication date: 11 July 2006


In order to emphasize in-depth analyses of individual life stories, seven informants were selected. Since breadth of experience will contribute to a more detailed contextualization of the consumer's use of products in identity negotiation, diversity across informants was emphasized. Interviews generally followed the format as suggested by Thompson, Locander, and Pollio (1989). A comfortable setting was chosen and pseudonyms were used to ensure anonymity. Interviews were audio-taped and lasted anywhere from one to just over two hours. Grand tour questions (McCracken, 1988) focused on the meaning of the tattoo design, the experience of being tattooed, perceptions of the body, words the informants used to describe themselves, and other biographical information important for understanding the informant's personal myth. Every effort was made to present a natural front, keep the informant on track without being too directive, demonstrate active listening, and prompt the informant as a way of probing for details (Spradley, 1979). To ensure accuracy, an experienced and trained transcriptionist transcribed each of the seven interviews. The final text totaled 450 typed double-spaced pages.


Velliquette, A.M., Murray, J.B. and Evers, D.J. (2006), "Inscribing the Personal Myth: The Role of Tattoos in Identification", Belk, R.W. (Ed.) Research in Consumer Behavior (Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 35-70.



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