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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2011
Thesis number: 12738
Fanaticism - Its development and meanings in consumers' lives
Author: Seregina, Anastasia
Title: Fanaticism - Its development and meanings in consumers' lives
Year: 2011  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; brandit; brands; psykologia; psychology; tunteet; emotions; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour; identiteetti; identity; tarina; narrative; elämäntapa; way of life
Pages: 101
Full text:
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Key terms: fanaticism; fanittaminen; fan; fani; consumer-brand relationship; brändisuhde; consumer; kuluttaja; consumer research; kuluttajatutkimus; idenitity; identiteetti; narrative; narratiivi
Objective of the Study

The aim of the study is to understand the development and meanings of fanaticism in consumers’ lives in order to gain a better grasp of the concept of fanaticism itself in terms of consumer research. More specifically, the main objective is to see how consumers’ identities are related to fanaticism and its development. To further understand this, the study also concerns itself with how the overall phenomenon of fanaticism actually develops and what factors influence this development, as well as how communality is present in fanaticism. Based on drawbacks of previous research, this study will take a view that sees fanaticism as a positive and developing phenomenon that should be studied subjectively. Thus narrative identity theory is used as a basis for the study. Further, because fanaticism has not been thoroughly studied in the field of consumer research, but is nonetheless a relevant part of it, this study will hopefully bring new insights to the topic.

Research Method

In order to gain a subjective understanding of fanaticism, the research data was collected through the means of narrative interviews. The data was then analysed by using narrative analysis, which involves constructing coherent stories out of the interviews followed by interpretation and analysis of said life stories in order to find common themes that present explanatory knowledge.


The research presents a personal view on the subjectively felt experience of fanaticism, its development, and meanings in consumers’ lives through the fan narratives. The concept of fanaticism is related to topics of loyalty, devotion, consumer-brand relationships, as well as identity building, and a connection of fanaticism to the creation of narrative identity is suggested. The four stages of development of fanaticism were identified, which allow for better understanding of the processes involved in being a fan. The fanatical relationship is further established to represent core values for the fans, which help build identity and become a common thread in the consumer’s life as well as their diverse fanaticisms. Moreover, different factors influencing fanaticism and its development to start, and become more or less intense were presented. These included physical and emotional life changes, influences of the object of fanaticism, and influences of the society. The role of communality was also looked at, and it was established that consumers see belonging to a community as being a fan for others, while not being a part of a community is seen as being a fan for yourself. Nonetheless, both a need to belong to a bigger whole and to have a private relationship with the fanaticism is present in all fans. From these themes emerge the concepts of public and private fanaticism, a balance of which is present in all fanaticisms in different proportions. Understanding this relationship could further unravel consumers’ attitudes and actions within fanaticism, as distinct combinations of the two elements could possibly result in differing development and meaning of fanaticism, presence of communality, and even overall consumer behaviour.
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