The Cultural Privileging of Personal Authenticity: a Critical Postmodern Perspective

Jay M. Handelman, Queen's University, Canada
Robert V. Kozinets, York University, Canada
Postmodern consumer research highlights the consumer quest for personal authenticity whereby consumers transform mass produced, branded products into ingredients for personal identity projects. Drawing on the lens of Critical Postmodernism, we reveal the cultural privileging of the quest for consumer personal authenticity as a hotly contested and problematized social phenomenon. Our interpretation of consumer activist, corporate, and consumer blog data reveal that the branding and corporate social responsibility practices of companies serve to sanctify, or privilege, consumers by decoupling them from the ethical and moral implications of modernist production practices. However, our analysis of the evolution of consumer and corporate blogs also reveals a potential Critical Postmodern turn whereby modernist production issues are increasingly becoming part of the postmodern consumer endeavor.
[ to cite ]:
Jay M. Handelman and Robert V. Kozinets (2009) ,"The Cultural Privileging of Personal Authenticity: a Critical Postmodern Perspective", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 72-75.