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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2015

Michal J Carrington, Ben Neville and Robin Canniford

This study aims to explore: consumer experiences of intense moral dilemma arising from identity multiplicity conflict, expressed in the marketplace, which demand stark…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore: consumer experiences of intense moral dilemma arising from identity multiplicity conflict, expressed in the marketplace, which demand stark moral choices and consumer response to intensely felt moral tension where their sense of coherent moral self is at stake.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors gathered ethnographic data from amongst ethical consumers, and theorised the data through theory of life projects and life themes to explain how multiplicity can become an unmanageable problem in the midst of moral dilemma.

Findings

The authors reveal that in contrast to notions of liberating or manageable multiplicity conflict, some consumers experience intense moral anxiety that is unmanageable. The authors find that this unmanageable moral tension can provoke consumers to transform self and consumption choices to construct a coherent moral self. The authors identify this transformation as the meta life project.

Research limitations/implications

This work contributes to knowledge of multiplicity, consumer life themes and life projects, moral dilemma and ethical consumption by showing that some experiences of moral anxiety arising from multiplicity conflict are unmanageable, and these consumers seek moral self re-unification through the meta life project.

Practical implications

This study provides practical guidance to companies, marketers, public organisations and activist groups seeking to understand and harness consumers’ moral codes to promote ethical consumption practices.

Originality/value

The authors extend current theory of multiplicity into the moral domain to illustrate limitations of framing consumer experiences of multiplicity conflict as being either liberating or manageable when consumers’ sense of moral self is at stake. This article is of interest to academic, marketing practitioner and public policy audiences.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 49 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Book part
Publication date: 22 November 2014

Aliette Lambert, John Desmond and Stephanie O’Donohoe

The purpose of this study is to investigate narcissism in relation to consumer identity projects. Narcissism is rarely the focus of consumer culture studies, though it…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate narcissism in relation to consumer identity projects. Narcissism is rarely the focus of consumer culture studies, though it resonates with theories of individualistic, consumption-driven identities, and is argued to be a pervasive social trend within a hegemonic consumer culture that places the individual center stage. We explore these themes in the context of emerging adult identity projects given arguments about increasing narcissism in younger generations.

Methodology/approach

Identifying eight participants using the Narcissistic Personality Inventory – four with high and four with low scores – we conduct in-depth interviews to explore their identity projects, narcissistic traits, and brand relationships.

Findings

Through idiographic analysis, we find that those with lower narcissistic tendencies seem to have a communal orientation to both people and brands, whilst those with greater narcissistic tendencies tend to be individualistic and agentic. We relate the narcissistic consumer to Fromm’s “marketing character,” proposing four themes that emerge from the analysis: liquidity; an other-directed sense of self; conformity; and the commodification of self.

Social implications

This paper discusses the societal implications of individualistic consumer identity projects, highlighting narcissism, a concept relatively neglected within consumer culture theory. Narcissism carries with it a host of societal implications, not least of which is a focus on the self and a lack of concern with the wellbeing of others.

Details

Consumer Culture Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-158-9

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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2021

Magnum Man Lok Lam, Eric Ping Hung Li and Wing-Sun Liu

The purpose of the present study is to examine how local consumers disassociate themselves from migrants' acculturative practices and negotiate their identity through the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the present study is to examine how local consumers disassociate themselves from migrants' acculturative practices and negotiate their identity through the symbolic consumption of fashion.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for this interpretive study were obtained via phenomenological interviews with locally-born Chinese youth in Guangzhou, China, to examine their acculturative consumption practices as well as their subjective experiences of perceived threats to their lifestyle imposed by the influx of outsiders. Snowballing and purposive sampling methods were adopted in recruiting the research participants.

Findings

Data analyses revealed that local consumers adopt three dissociative strategies (stigmatization, avoidance and self-assertion) in order to ascribe meanings to their fashion consumption practices as a means of resolving identity conflicts and differentiate themselves from the migrant consumers.

Research limitations/implications

This research offers a single perspective (i.e. that of local-born young consumers residing in Guangzhou) on the locals' attitudes aimed at distinguishing and negotiating their identities in an intercultural setting via specific fashion-clothing choices. This research has theoretical implications for the consumer acculturation theory and identity negotiation.

Practical implications

Findings yielded by the present study have important implications for commercial companies focusing on fashion consumption, in particular for marketing practices aimed at rural-urban identification and youth market segmentation.

Social implications

This study contributes to the existing discussion on consumer acculturation by offering an intracultural perspective to the understanding of local consumers' responses to migrants' acculturation. It also provides managerial insights for fashion retailers, prompting them to rethink their market segmentation strategies to address population mobility in the marketplace and better understand how it alters the in-between social relationships that result in different consumption patterns and practices.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the existing discussion on youth consumer acculturation theories by offering an intercultural perspective to the understanding of local consumers' responses to migrants' acculturation attempts. It also offers managerial insights for fashion retailers, prompting them to rethink their market segmentation strategies to address population mobility and better understand how it alters the social relationships that result in different consumption patterns and practices.

Details

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-2026

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Book part
Publication date: 10 April 2019

Anuja Pradhan, Hayley Cocker and Margaret K. Hogg

Purpose: This chapter seeks to understand ethnic identification among second-generation consumers by drawing upon the lived experiences of British Indian migrants in

Abstract

Purpose: This chapter seeks to understand ethnic identification among second-generation consumers by drawing upon the lived experiences of British Indian migrants in England.

Methodology/Approach: The authors analyze interviews with middle-class, Hindu, second-generation British Indian women through Bourdieu’s key concepts of capital, field, habitus, and distinction.

Findings: Through resources such as Bollywood cinema, and Indian schools for language, music, and dance, second-generation consumers acquire, use and (re) produce situationally prized subcultural capital for distinction from other ethnic consumers and members of the white majority group. Ethnicity is central to second-generation consumersidentity projects, and their everyday social interactions. Ethnicity is considered in uplifting and empowering terms, and first-generation consumers play a key role in reinforcing this belief.

Research Limitations/Implications: Due to our small sample size, limited by class, religion, and gender, the findings of this chapter might not be generalizable to the wider population. Instead, they can be used to develop new theoretical ways of understanding ethnicity in multicultural settings with long-established migrant populations.

Social Implications: Ethnicity can play a central and positive role in the everyday lives of second-generation consumers. By investigating this further, we can improve our understanding of contemporary, multicultural societies.

Originality/Value of Paper: Prior work in consumer research has focused on understanding first-generation migrant consumers through the lens of acculturation, and foregrounding experiences of stigma and tension. Instead, the authors foreground the positive and uplifting lived experiences of second-generation consumers in relation to their ethnicity. This chapter extends the literature on second-generation ethnic consumer identity work.

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Mary Ho and Stephanie O’Donohoe

The purpose of this paper is to seek to enhance the understanding of non-profit marketing and consumer identities by exploring volunteering as a form of symbolic…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to seek to enhance the understanding of non-profit marketing and consumer identities by exploring volunteering as a form of symbolic consumption. Specifically, it seeks to examine how young people – both volunteers and non-volunteers – understand and relate to volunteer stereotypes, and how they manage stigma in negotiating their social identities in relation to volunteering.

Design/methodology/approach

Grounded in consumer culture theory, the study uses mixed qualitative methods, incorporating focus groups, paired and individual interviews and a projective drawing task.

Findings

Five volunteering-related stereotypes were identified: the older charity shop worker, the sweet singleton, the environmental protestor, the ordinary volunteer and the non-volunteer. Participants related to positive and negative attributes of these stereotypes in different ways. This led volunteers and non-volunteers to engage in a range of impression management strategies, some of which bolstered their own identities by stigmatising other groups.

Research limitations/implications

The sample was drawn from 39 individuals aged 16-24 years and living in Scotland.

Practical implications

Because stereotypes are acknowledged as a major barrier to volunteering, particularly among young people, a greater understanding of how these stereotypes are understood and negotiated can assist non-profit marketers in recruiting and retaining volunteers.

Originality/value

This paper draws on theories of consumer culture and stigma to explore volunteering as a form of symbolic consumption, examines volunteering stereotypes among both volunteers and non-volunteers and uses multiple qualitative methods to facilitate articulation of young people’s experiences in this area.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 48 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 13 March 2020

Marlon Dalmoro, Diego Costa Pinto, Márcia Maurer Herter and Walter Nique

This research aims to develop and test the traditionscapes framework in which consumers appropriate local traditions as a resource to foster cultural identity in emerging markets.

Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to develop and test the traditionscapes framework in which consumers appropriate local traditions as a resource to foster cultural identity in emerging markets.

Design/methodology/approach

A multi-level research approach with qualitative (n = 38) and quantitative data (n = 600) was employed in the context of gaucho traditions in the southern part of Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul state).

Findings

The findings indicate that traditionscapes operate in a fluid process that engenders local culture attachment into tradition value through the consumer identification process. Traditionscapes build a sense of local cultural attachment that functions as a source of social, cultural, and local identification. Findings also support our three-stage traditionscapes framework, emphasizing the identification process that depends on consumers' global culture resistance.

Originality/value

This research provides a novel viewpoint to the well-established relationship between tradition and globalization in consumption studies. We contribute to this debate by shifting the discussion to the fluid process of traditionscapes in which tradition value is engendered through consumer appropriation and identification with local traditions, even in a globalized context. Although recent research suggests that global culture can disrupt local traditions, traditionscapes operate as an extended perspective that coexists with other global cultural flows.

Details

International Journal of Emerging Markets, vol. 15 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-8809

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Article
Publication date: 30 January 2021

Laurence Dessart and Bernard Cova

This paper aims to conceptualize brand repulsion as a specific nuance of brand rejection, highlight the boundary work at play in situations of collective brand repulsion…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to conceptualize brand repulsion as a specific nuance of brand rejection, highlight the boundary work at play in situations of collective brand repulsion and extract implications for the brands that are at the centre of such situations and to delineate future directions for scholars.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors’ study of the “I Hate Apple” group on Facebook is grounded in a six-year long naturalistic enquiry designed to capture the boundary work performed by its members. The authors’ sources include netnographic data, online focus groups, observations and personal online correspondence with members and moderators.

Findings

This study’s findings reveal that certain brands serve the identity work of consumers by allowing them in erecting boundaries based on three major sources of repulsion: anti-fandom, anti-hegemony and anti-marketing. They show that for each type of boundary work, corporate and product brand repulsion seems prevalent.

Research limitations/implications

This research limits itself to considering the types of boundary work related to brand repulsion as regards a single brand: Apple.

Practical implications

The study can help managers identify the types(s) of boundary work related to their brand and it provides practical recommendations for these various sources of brand repulsion. It also helps them distinguish between consumer brand repulsion directed against their product and their corporation.

Originality/value

This study advances knowledge in the field of brand rejection by exploring a specific nuance: brand repulsion. Its close examination of consumer collective practices offers a deeper understanding of the ins and outs of the paradoxical phenomenon of repulsion/attraction for a brand. The cultural lens is used as an original approach to this under-investigated nuance of brand rejection.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 55 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 September 2018

Killian O’Leary and Stephen Murphy

This paper aims to explore consumer behaviour on the popular anonymous social networking site (SNS) Yik Yak. It examines the reasons behind the turn to anonymous social…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore consumer behaviour on the popular anonymous social networking site (SNS) Yik Yak. It examines the reasons behind the turn to anonymous social networking and also considers the ways in which anonymity impacts consumers’ self-performances on SNS.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used a netnographic approach to explore Yik Yak across eight universities in Ireland and the UK. Data are based on observation and participation on the app. Screenshots on smart phones were the central method used to collect data. Data also included 12 in-depth interviews.

Findings

Young consumers are becoming fatigued by the negative effects of self-presentation on many SNS. By enabling consumers to engage in what they consider to be more authentic modes of being and interaction, Yik Yak provides respite from these pressures. Through the structures of its design, Yik Yak enables consumers to realise self-authentication in anonymised self-performances that engender a sense of virtue and social connection.

Practical implications

This research highlights the potential value of anonymous SNS in fostering supportive dialogue, concerning mental health amongst post-millennials.

Originality/value

By invoking a performative lens, this paper extends a novel theoretical approach to understandings of identity formation within consumer research. By highlighting anonymity as a dynamic process of socio-material enactments, the study reveals how consumers’ self-performances are brought into effect through the citation of various discursive arrangements, which promulgate distinct understandings of authenticity.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 53 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 8 April 2014

Sandy Bulmer and Margo Buchanan-Oliver

– The purpose of this paper is to elaborate on a novel multi-modal enabling technique for contextualising brand consumption experiences.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate on a novel multi-modal enabling technique for contextualising brand consumption experiences.

Design/methodology/approach

A multi-modal interpretive narrative approach is presented as a means of investigating brands as experiential entities for use in consumer identity projects. It reports the strategic use of different modes of data collection: autobiographical narratives generated by solo participants to create a benchmark of identity and subsequent friendship pair guided discussion interviews. This offers a faster, cheaper and more convenient means of gaining access to consumer experiences of brands than traditional ethnographic methods, which require prolonged engagements within a community.

Findings

Consumer narratives of actual brand consumption and of mediated brand consumption are enhanced using this method. The consumer narratives generated provided rich insights into the role of brands in contributing to national identity. The contextualised use and function of identity narratives provided by brands were identified in addition to the identification of national community rituals of consumption.

Originality/value

The multi-modal use of friendship pair interviews with solo autobiographical interviews is shown to offer benefits to qualitative consumer researchers focussing on brand/identity issues. The combination of data collection methods allowed for greater reflexive, memorial and contextualised discussion in the friendship pair interviews about brand narrative consumption and generated responses that advance beyond socio-political conventions concerning brands. Consequently, contextualised brand consumption experiences can be accessed more effectively than in conventional depth interviews.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

Georgia Stavraki

This paper focuses on the relationships that consumers develop with experiential objects in the context of the Biennale of Contemporary Art Exhibition, viewed from a…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper focuses on the relationships that consumers develop with experiential objects in the context of the Biennale of Contemporary Art Exhibition, viewed from a dialogical and intersubjective approach. The purpose of this paper is to elaborate on the interpersonal relationships that visitors of the Biennale establish with contemporary artworks and to understand the characteristics of these relationships as well as their role in shaping Biennale visitors’ identity narratives.

Design/methodology/approach

This research employs an instrumental case study that draws on multiple data sources and examines consumers’ relationships with contemporary artworks.

Findings

The case study evidence introduces the relationships that emerged from Biennale visitors’ interactions with contemporary artworks and the identity narratives evolving from these relationships. The findings suggest that Biennale visitors’ relationships with the contemporary artworks take the form of I-thou and I-it relationships. These two modes of interpersonal relationships by entailing different characteristics led investigated visitors to live different types of experiences of contemporary art consumption.

Research limitations/implications

The first limitation of this research is that it focuses on the establishment of interpersonal relationships at the microgenetic level. Further research can provide additional insights by conducting a longitudinal case study. The second limitation is that it provides limited insights into the relationships that are revealed by consumers’ experiences with possessive objects. Future research may examine interpersonal relationships in terms of consumers’ relationships with their brands.

Practical implications

The understanding of visitors’ interactions and relationships with contemporary artworks provides insights into curatorial and marketing practices for such art institutions.

Originality/value

The findings of the current research provide new theoretical insights into the interpersonal relationships that consumers develop with experiential objects and into the distinctive identity narratives that evolve from the establishment of different types of interpersonal relationships.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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