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Title: Expressing identity in crossing to the New Year : a case study of the Malaysian Chinese Reunion Dinner
Author: Sia, Bee Chuan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2734 5324
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2012
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This study contributes to the growing cross-cultural body of literature of globalised consumer behaviour with pecific to CCT within the discipline of consumer research addressing the consumer identity of consumption. It explores the role of social influences in explaining consumer behaviour of a specific ethnic minority group in Malaysia (i.e. the Chinese Malaysians) during the celebration of the Lunar New Year. Specifically, this study aims to investigate the consumption celebration of the Reunion Dinner through its cultural significance within the multicultural Malaysian context especially of the Chinese Malaysian. Its objectives are to explore the ritual of the consumption, beyond the frame of economics or psychology but from the view of cultural meanings within the contextual, symbolic and experiential of consumption from acquisition to consumption and disposition. The theoretical guidance for this study which is parallel with CCT incorporates the lenses of social anthropology and consumer behaviour, which is based on interpretive and ethnographic approaches. Data was collected from forty in-depth interviews, participant observation, photographs over three years to provide a schema of analyses. The findings reveal variations of the celebration consumption from the participants, place, time and activities with negotiations made across age, gender and social status. Four central themes came to light as integral components of the celebrationconsumption experience in addressing the consumers’ identity and its identification through namely solidarity, symbolism, self-concept and play among ethnic subculture members. Firstly identity is negotiated through solidarity likened to the western identity with thanksgiving; bonding in preparation; time for all and reconnection; inclusion of ancestors, deities, friends and relatives; appropriation of food; and pragmatism of time and venue for the gathering. Secondly, identity is associated with symbolism derived from the meanings of: time; food and actions of gifting; and prayers to taboos. Thirdly, the concept of self-identity is reflected in the projection of future self; the role of mother, wife, daughter-in-law, and children; social identity and interdependent of self. Lastly, the phenomenology of play due to the liminal essence of standing between the threshold of old and new, is manifested through food, gifts and gambling as the ritual is being re-experienced through an imagined construction of reality and new identity. The findings of this study generate implications for theorists and practitioners within the context of the identity of the consumers in the construction, maintenance and negotiation of identity is often used to maintain the sense of identity through time as it defines oneself in relationship to other people. This study validates the knowledge of culture that is continuously produced, reproduced and negotiated within the CCT constructs from the ethnic subculture consumption perspective. Keywords: culture, consumption, ritual, identity, ethnic, subculture, solidarity,symbolism, self-concept, play Chinese, Consumer Culture Theory (CCT).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)