The Pursuit of Identity Augmentation: Self-Expansion and Self-Extension As Distinct Strategies

In this research, we argue that two theoretical constructions of augmenting identity, self-extension (Belk 1988) and self-expansion (Aron, Aron, and Smollan 1992; Aron et al 1991), are cited similarly by two different literatures (Belk in consumer research, Aron in psychology), but actually represent two distinct strategies for growing identity beyond the corporeal self. We find that consumers extend their identities by making active attempts to share their consumption relationships with close others (Belk framework), and can also expand identity by enveloping a close other’s consumption relationships and making them their own (Aron framework). Finally, we offer the term identity augmentation as a term to encompass the two different strategies.


Paul M. Connell and Hope Jensen Schau (2010) ,"The Pursuit of Identity Augmentation: Self-Expansion and Self-Extension As Distinct Strategies", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 675-675 .


Paul M. Connell, Stony Brook University, USA
Hope Jensen Schau, University of Arizona, USA


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37 | 2010

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