Towards a Suturing Theory of Identity and Consumption

ABSTRACT - It is now axiomatic within consumer research and the social sciences in general to advocate that consumption is increasingly important to identity construction. Identity is now primarily conceived as a process of identification, something that the individual must actively pursue. We have no given, preordained or fixed identity anymore (if we ever did) and so the argument goes that it is the responsibility of the individual to construct one from the symbolic resources (made) available (by and through the market). In this paper I develop a view of the process of identification that draws on developments in social and cultural theory, and in particular the work of the Stuart Hall. In this view identity is conceived of as a process of attachment to discursively produced subject positions that we are hailed by and unconsciously or consciously invest in (partly through consumption) and reproduce. Given the dynamic nature of identity construction, peoples’ record collections were identified to be an archaeological site of the representation of these processes. The inherently social nature of identification reinforces a view that the links between people (i.e. social relations) are more important than things (i.e. products).



Citation:

Avi Shankar (2003) ,"Towards a Suturing Theory of Identity and Consumption", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6, eds. Darach Turley and Stephen Brown, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 263.

European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6, 2003      Page 263

TOWARDS A SUTURING THEORY OF IDENTITY AND CONSUMPTION

Avi Shankar, University of Exeter, UK

ABSTRACT -

It is now axiomatic within consumer research and the social sciences in general to advocate that consumption is increasingly important to identity construction. Identity is now primarily conceived as a process of identification, something that the individual must actively pursue. We have no given, preordained or fixed identity anymore (if we ever did) and so the argument goes that it is the responsibility of the individual to construct one from the symbolic resources (made) available (by and through the market). In this paper I develop a view of the process of identification that draws on developments in social and cultural theory, and in particular the work of the Stuart Hall. In this view identity is conceived of as a process of attachment to discursively produced subject positions that we are hailed by and unconsciously or consciously invest in (partly through consumption) and reproduce. Given the dynamic nature of identity construction, peoples’ record collections were identified to be an archaeological site of the representation of these processes. The inherently social nature of identification reinforces a view that the links between people (i.e. social relations) are more important than things (i.e. products).

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Authors

Avi Shankar, University of Exeter, UK



Volume

E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6 | 2003



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