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Title: The transformed consumer : collective practices and identity work in an emotional community
Author: Dunnett, Susan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2689 1892
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2009
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This interpretive consumer research study interrogates the idea that people turn to consumption as a means of self-determination. Proceeding from the understanding that the consumer enacts the development of their identity within the marketplace, it takes as its subject those in transition. Its context is a support group community of people brought together by an illness - multiple myeloma. Here, through a phenomenological approach designed to explore the lived experience of illness, the thesis discovers community to be the enabling context for the consumer’s negotiation of both selfhood and the market. Conclusions are drawn about the incremental, complex nature of identity work, and the collective practices that empower it. It is found that the marketplace requires significant mediation, but that the social resources of the community can equip the consumer to navigate its challenges. This transformation is manifested in the newly-diagnosed patient’s journey from dislocation and passivity to the empowered status of ‘skilled consumer’. The importance of the often-overlooked emotional texture of exchange within consumption communities is highlighted. In conclusion, it is offered that this study extends the concept of communities of practice into the field of consumption.
Supervisor: Brownlie, Douglas T. Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Consumption ; Community ; Myeloma ; Identity ; Interpretivist ; Transition ; Consumer behavior ; Consumers Great Britain Attitudes ; Group identity ; Acute myeloid leukemia Patients