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Title: An exploratory analysis of children's consumption and identity projects
Author: Mingazova, Diliara
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 0441
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2018
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The thesis aims to extend the child brand relationship theory, a significant part of consumer culture theory (CCT), and consequently, provide a deeper understanding of the roles that brands play in the lives of children. It draws upon the literature of CCT, brand relationship theory and children as consumers. The objectives of this research are to explore children’s understanding of the symbolic meanings of their brands, gain an understanding of how children use these meanings in their lived experiences and, in order to gain an understanding of the child brand relationships in context, explore different aspects of children’s social and personal lives. The methodological approach of this research is qualitative because this research is primarily explorative in its nature. Thirty-one in-depth interviews were conducted with children of both genders, aged between 5 and 9 years old. The data was analysed using a coding process together with thematic analysis. In keeping with marketing scholarship, children in this research are viewed as active consumers who construct their individual and social identities and contribute to the social world. Consequently, children’s own experiences and opinions were captured and ten themes emerged which reveal that children have purposive and meaningful relationships with brands at earlier ages than existing research suggests and these relationships are important for their social and personal lives. These themes provide the key findings of this research. The first theme explains that children’s selfesteem is enhanced in the context of the digital age. Themes two and three demonstrate that brands help children develop their desired selves, gain social acceptance and position themselves and others in a social world. The fourth theme reveals that children, through the gendered symbolic meanings they attach to brands, are seeking to express their individuality amongst their peers. Next, this research establishes that children use brands to support their transition into adulthood and complete their social identities. The concepts of fantasy and brand relationships are explored in theme six which clarifies that superhero brands help children to create their “fantasy” worlds. Theme seven demonstrates that children have meaningful connections with brands which are embedded into their social relationships with parents/ caregivers. The final three themes show that certain brands which children use help them to obtain social affiliation in school, support their life-projects and entertain them. This research contributes to scholarship in the fields of CCT, brand relationship theory and studies of children as consumers. It provides new insights into children as active consumers which extends the brand relationship theory and is also valuable to marketing practitioners. Research limitations and future research are presented in the final chapter.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral