Identity verification through pain in extraordinary consumer experiences

Rebecca Scott, Katharina Husemann, Tim Hill

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the interplay between identity verification and painful consumer experiences. To understand this relationship the authors draw from three ethnographies from around the world: pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, Tough Mudder obstacle course participants and British football fans. Their data show that through pain, identity verification work can be intensified, suspended or refocused. Firstly, pain can trigger an intense introspective process of self-verification through which consumers better understand who they are, and grow beyond themselves. Secondly, pain helps consumers to dismiss self-verifying behavior by temporarily suspending their ability to acquire self-confirmatory reactions. Thirdly, consumers can use their pain to refocus their identity verification work to redefine the limits of their self-concept following life transitions. These insights enhance our understanding of how the experience of physical pain can open up various opportunities for identity verification.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Identity Theory in Marketing
Subtitle of host publicationResearch Handbooks in Business and Management series
EditorsAmericus Reed, Mark Forehand
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781788117739
ISBN (Print)9781788117722
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2019

Publication series

NameResearch Handbooks in Business and Management series

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