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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2013
Thesis number: 13347
The role of desire in self construction: city and identity narratives
Author: Popova, Yulia
Title: The role of desire in self construction: city and identity narratives
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour; psykologia; psychology; tunteet; emotions
Pages: 78
Full text:
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Key terms: desire; cycle of desire; identity; narrative theory; autoethnography; consumer research; identity in transition; nurturing; city

Research objectives The broad objective of this research is to gain understanding of how consumers experience desire. The previous research has provided little information about the role of desire in developing the sense of identity. The present research seeks to address this gap by investigating how consumers interpret their desires, and how they handle its conflicting nature. The present research follows narrative approach to develop an understanding of what the role of desire is in consumers' narratives of self. Desire towards a city was chosen as a context for the present research, because such context provides necessary space and longevity to investigate the experience of desire. This research is interpretive in nature; therefore, its aim is to develop an understanding of the phenomenon, which is reflected in the author's interpretation, rather than construct generalizable knowledge.

Research method To develop an understanding of the role of desire in consumers' narratives, two methods were utilized: analytic autoethnography and phenomenological interviewing. In addition, an analysis of a thematic blog was conducted. The author's own experience of desire was explicated in a written authoethnography, which was used as a part of data and allowed to enhance pre-understanding of the phenomenon. After that, two interviews were conducted to gain access to versatile interpretations of desire. Finally, a blog analysis was conducted to provide contextual richness to the collective story of desire. Data was analyzed using narrative analysis method, which involves creating a shared narrative from separated fragments of data.

Findings The findings show that consumers interpret their desire as storage of inner values, as a way to extend their sense of self and approach the more appealing version of self. Desire is incorporated within identity narrative in a way that supports the flow of the story and communicates the sense of self in a desirable way. Consumers interpret their desires as providing continuity and the sense of belongingness in their lives, which helps to reduce the tension between morality and seduction, embedded into the experience of desire. Another major finding concerns nurturing desire. By nurturing desire, consumers are able to control their experience of desire. By increasing or decreasing the amount of nurturing and varying its content, consumers achieve control over desire and can regulate how long it lasts and what kind of meanings are attached to it.
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