Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2015
Thesis number: 14008
Re-appropriation of urban space through consumption
|Title:||Re-appropriation of urban space through consumption|
|Year:||2015 Language: eng|
|Department:||Department of Marketing|
|Index terms:||markkinat; markets; kulutus; consumption; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour; kaupungit; towns; servicescape; servicescape; ravintolat; restaurants|
|Key terms:||Consumer culture; Social movement theory; Urban space, re-appropriation; market emancipation; postmodernism.|
OBJECTIVE OF THIS STUDY:
The Restaurant day and other similar civic events have become an important part of urban culture with tens of thousands of participants per venue in cities and loca-tions all over the world. This thesis is about understanding the phenomenon of Restaurant day from the mainstream consumer's perspective suggesting that cities are places where new forms of con-sumption emerge. Thus the Restaurant day phenomenon is studied as an urban event organized by citizens and participated by urban consumers.
THE THEORETHICAL FRAMEWORK AND METHODOLOGY:
The literature review explores three different, albeit interrelated, theoretical perspectives: consumer culture literature, social movement theories, and urban spatial theories. Common to all of these is the active role that consumers or citi-zens take in constructing the sociocultural environment they live in. This happens basically through the re-appropriation of cultural meanings based on values and ideologies consumers have related to consumption and urban space. Re-appropriation here means the influence of informal actors, con-sumers, on the setting of the urban agenda (Groth & Corijn, 2005).
Qualitative research suits well when the phenomenon in question is relatively new and little research about it exists. This study is a cultural one belonging to the constructivism research paradigm, aiming to describe locally and socially constructed reality that can't be generalized. Six semi-structured in-terviews which aimed to follow phenomenological interview method as much as possible, were con-ducted. Interviewees were chosen based on previous knowledge about their Restaurant day partici-pation and living places. In addition an ethnography by participating into the most recent Restaurant day event at the time of making this master's thesis was executed to have more coherent descriptive insight about the Restaurant day event.
FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS:
Previous studies have connected social movements and con-sumption through consumer activism, anti-consumerism and market emancipatory practices (Kozinets 2002; Kozinets & Handelman 2004; Firat & Venkatesh 1995; Arnould & Thompson 2005) whereas this study argues that mobilizing power of new social movement in urban context is con-sumption. The Restaurant day is seen as a contemporary cultural phenomenon representing post-modernist urban consumption as well as new social movements. With ideology driven consumption where consumers distance themselves from the market and governmental influence, urban space is re-appropriated by consumers. The Restaurant day consumption seems to have short- and long-term effects on the urban agenda and how the city is perceived by consumers. New forms of urban consumption also effect on how cultural meanings are transferred in consumption.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.