American Self-Enhancement Culture and the Cyborg Consumer: Consumer Identity Construction Beyond the Dominance of Authenticity

Markus Giesler, York University, Canada
Marius K. Luedicke, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Berrin Ozergin, University of Witten / Herdecke
Social critics of American self-enhancement culture often lament that it draws individuals in a biomedical consumerism that frustrates the construction of genuine self-identity. This “lost authenticity” critique ignores that consumers can forge their identity in narrative terms not dominated by modernist questions regarding inauthentic vs. authentic. Americans injecting Botox for self-enhancement purposes draw from a new model: the cyborg consumer. We develop this conception to analyze how consumers partially and inconsistently transcend historically established dualities–nature vs. technology, authentic vs. inauthentic–to create consistent “stories of the self.” We profile an emerging historical discontinuity between a modernist identity protocol prescribing self-authenticity as the ultimate goal and a competing protocol challenging this authority by prescribing unlimited agency through technological self-enhancement.
[ to cite ]:
Markus Giesler, Marius K. Luedicke, and Berrin Ozergin (2009) ,"American Self-Enhancement Culture and the Cyborg Consumer: Consumer Identity Construction Beyond the Dominance of Authenticity", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 72-75.