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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2012
Thesis number: 12981
Entertained to excess: the contemporary practices of boredom
Author: Myöhänen, Henri
Title: Entertained to excess: the contemporary practices of boredom
Year: 2012  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; viihde; entertainment; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour; tunteet; emotions; psykologia; psychology; elämäntapa; way of life; etnografia; ethnography; sosiologia; sociology
Pages: 94
Full text:
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Key terms: boredom; videography; consumer culture theory; practice theory; consumer behaviour; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumers’ interpretative strategies; theory of social practices; rituals; routines; everyday life; Heidegger; ethnography
Boredom has rarely been discussed within the social sciences or in the field of consumer research. Therefore this study performs an ethnography of how boredom becomes negotiated in contemporary consumer culture and how does coping with boredom become emergently embodied in spatiotemporal surroundings by researching everyday routines and rituals, consumption of time, and boredom in the context of social consumption practices such as traveling, music business and sports like snowboarding and football.

The study aims to research consumers’ consumption of boredom as a negotiation of the consumption of one’s time. Especially the use and significance of different media as ways to cope with boredom in people’s mundane everyday life are investigated in the context of both business and recreational traveling.

Because of the abstract nature and characterization of the concept of boredom, this study draws from the work of the continental philosopher Martin Heidegger who provides us with a rich phenomenological description of different forms of boredom (Heidegger 1993, 1995; Anderson 2004; Chia & Holt 2006; Mansikka 2009). In this study I approach Heidegger’s conceptions of situative and existential boredom (Heidegger 1993, 1995; Anderson 2004; Chia & Holt 2006; Mansikka 2009) from consumer cultural point of view. I am suggesting that the experience of boredom and coping with it has substantial transformative potentialities that can inform both consumer culture theory and also the marketing and media industry by furthering the understanding of social consumption practices.

Today’s digital revolution in video technology has affected everyone (De Valck et al. 2009), but still the visual aspect of consumer experience has been largely ignored by research representations, teaching and presenting traditions of today’s academic and business worlds (Belk & Kozinets 2006). Due to the abstract and philosophical nature of the concept of boredom, it is extremely hard to study by using traditional research methods. Therefore this study will be carried out as an ethnographic research by using videographic methods (Videographic Master’s Thesis: Furthermore, it is possible to represent more realistically the different material arrangements in social consumption practices by means of videography.

In order to address the research questions, I will develop and present a framework of three central perspectives of practices to coping with boredom in the contemporary society. The study then explores some perspectives to what the construction of my framework on boredom could mean from a sociocultural perspective.

The findings of my videographic research (Videographic Master’s Thesis: will show how the contemporary consumer culture has a fetish of doing and not standing still. We are involved in a constant activity of consuming entertainment and throttling every opportunity to do something radically new in order to strive away boredom, but because of this we are, in fact, falling more deeply into the boredom and enforcing the experience of boredom and emptiness.
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