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Exploring Fantasy in Consumer Experiences

Consumer Culture Theory

ISBN: 978-1-78441-158-9, eISBN: 978-1-78441-157-2

ISSN: 0885-2111

Publication date: 22 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

Fantasy is a concept often used in everyday life and in academic research. While it has received attention in consumer research due to its connection to desires, community creation, meaning evocation, and identity development, it lacks a commonly shared understanding. This paper explores and theorizes consumers’ experiences of fantasy as performed in real-life situations.

Method

The research was conducted as an ethnographic study of live action role-playing games (LARP) and analyzed through the lens of performance theory.

Findings

LARPs are performances that take place between imagination and embodied reality, with participants drawing on each realm to enrich the other. Consumption elements of LARP include media products and materials used in creating settings, costumes, and props. LARPers gain various benefits from the performance of fantasy, including escapist entertainment, self-reflection, personal growth, and participation in social criticism. Fantasy performance is, therefore, an important and under-theorized vehicle for consumer identity development and social interaction.

Theoretical implications

This research theorizes the experience of fantasy as a performance that takes place between reality and imagination. As such, it involves both embodied and social aspects that have largely been ignored in prior research. A richer theorization of fantasy performance promises greater insights into research areas including the dynamics of consumer identity projects and of consumption communities.

Keywords

Citation

Seregina, A. (2014), "Exploring Fantasy in Consumer Experiences", Consumer Culture Theory (Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 19-33. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0885-211120140000016001

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited