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“Doing the duck”: negotiating the resistant‐consumer identity

Karen V. Fernandez (Department of Marketing, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Amanda J. Brittain (The Aromatherapy Company, Auckland, New Zealand)
Sandra D. Bennett (Department of Marketing, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 15 November 2011



This paper aims to examine how dumpster divers' practices and tension‐resolution strategies facilitate their construction of resistant‐consumer identities outside the dominant paradigm of consumer choice.


Interview data were interpreted with the assistance of relevant literature, netnography and observation.


By viewing ideological motivations as paramount, even divers initially having economic or psychological motivations are able to negotiate a positive hero identity. Sharing forms community and constructs a “self‐for‐others” narrative that accommodates the paradoxical need to consume while resisting.

Research limitations/implications

The illegality of the practice prevented researcher participation. Examining the reacquisition of waste informs identity construction and consumer resistance, and suggests that corporate and public policies should facilitate waste reclamation.


This investigation, unlike prior research, does not examine only one set of motives nor only those who dive for food. Thus, this paper uncovers the complex inter‐relationships between ideological, economic and psychological motivations, permitting a more complete understanding of how divers' practices shape their identities.



Fernandez, K.V., Brittain, A.J. and Bennett, S.D. (2011), "“Doing the duck”: negotiating the resistant‐consumer identity", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 45 No. 11/12, pp. 1779-1788.



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