“My plastic dreams”: Toward an extended understanding of materiality and the shaping of consumer identities

Marcia Christina Ferreira, Daiane Scaraboto

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Individuals relate to consumption objects as a means to develop, reinforce, transform, or align their fragmented individual identities. Prior research has mainly focused on understanding the identity-shaping potential of finished consumer products, such as branded shoes. Less attention has been dedicated to understanding how material substances, designer intentions, and marketing efforts jointly influence materiality and the shaping of consumers' identities. Drawing from a netnographic investigation of an online community of plastic shoe aficionados, we extend current understandings of object–consumer relations to include pre-objectification — a process whereby cultural forms are translated into material objects. This expanded view allows us to examine the outcomes of consumer interaction with material elements inscribed in consumption objects. Our study uncovers a collective materialization process where culturally situated material interactions give shape to consumer identities and feedback into consumer culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-207
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number1
Early online date17 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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