Kauppakorkeakoulun julkaisuportaali
Aalto-yliopiston kauppakorkeakoulun gradujen tiedot nyt Aaltodocissa: Aaltodoc-julkaisuarkisto
Kauppakorkeakoulu | Markkinoinnin ja johtamisen laitos | Markkinointi | 2010
Tutkielman numero: 12238
Negotiating stigmas: Contributions from the narrative approach
Tekijä: Koivisto, Elina Maria
Otsikko: Negotiating stigmas: Contributions from the narrative approach
Vuosi: 2010  Kieli: eng
Laitos: Markkinoinnin ja johtamisen laitos
Aine: Markkinointi
Asiasanat: markkinointi; marketing; identiteetti; identity; tarina; narrative; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour
Sivumäärä: 86
» hse_ethesis_12238.pdf pdf  koko: 932 KB (953408)
Avainsanat: narrative; narratiivi; identity; identiteetti; stigmatization; stigmatisaatio; narrative analysis; narratiivi analyysi; consumption; kulutus; consumers; kuluttajat; consumer research; kuluttajatutkimus; life-story interview; elämäntarinahaastattelu
Objective of the study

The broad aim of this research is to understand how consumers construct their identity through biographical consumption narratives. Accordingly, I will explore how people tell stories of consumption and how those stories reflect on their past/current/future life meanings. In particular, I aim to understand how consumers use consumption as a resource to create continuity in their life-stories in the face of stigmatization. Existing consumer research on this topic has studied how individuals manage their stigmatization experiences through practices of self-empowerment and well-being, building a broad taxonomy of remedial responses using content-analysis. In addition, the secondary aim of this study is to explore the role and importance of consumption in identity creation. As this research is interpretive by nature its objective is to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon in question rather than produce generalizations.

Research method

In order to shed light on this complex phenomenon, I gathered data utilizing life-story-interviews. I analyzed this data through employing the method of narrative analysis which involves configuring the shattered data elements into a coherent story that unites and gives meaning to the data as contributors to a goal or a purpose.


A narrative approach enabled me to gain an in-depth holistic understanding of the biographical meanings in the interviews. Indeed, this research hopes to extend our knowledge on the consumer coping responses to stigmatization through its in-depth analysis of biographical narrative. This more holistic approach has allowed the grasping of stigmatization in the context of biographical narrative, and thus, produced a novel interpretation of these coping practices. This research proposes a model of compensatory consumption whereby identity lies in the life-story and the author aims to construct a complete and coherent narrative through compensatory consumption. In a narrative context, stigma is reflected as a lack of meaning, and compensation is, then, a process through which individuals negotiate this lack of meaning by using consumption as a resource for a variety of remedying strategies. This proposed model enables me to demonstrate how the application of such remedies can be examined in an in-depth manner through a focus the modalities of agency and communion. As higher order concepts, these two notions help to understand how an individual is able to create broader coherence in the face of stigmatization. Finally, the thesis also explores the relation of identity construction and consumption. It is concluded that consumption is not used to construct identity per se, but rather reflects identity through its role in the individual’s broader sense-making – namely via the told life-story. Nevertheless, consumption has a significant role in the process of ‘selfing’ as a resource.


Narrative, identity, stigmatization, narrative analysis, consumption, consumers, consumer research, life-story interview
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