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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2016
Thesis number: 14575
Exploring consumers' experiences of self and body through embodying activity: Case partnered dancing
Author: Rehkolainen, Maria
Title: Exploring consumers' experiences of self and body through embodying activity: Case partnered dancing
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour; kehollisuus; embodiment; identiteetti; identity; tunteet; emotions
Pages: 64
Key terms: consumer culture; self-objectification; embodiment; dance; coping; body-image
The aim of this research was to study dancers and to find out how they experience partnered dance, what kind of embodied meanings and sociocultural conceptions they ascribe to dancing and what kind of effects does dancing potentially have on their wellbeing, body-image and consumer behavior overall. The consumer culture is highly dualistic in its nature and seeing a human body as object of consumer actions and control despite resent holistic research streams is predominant phenomena. The body modification is more popular within consumer culture than ever. This research topic emerged as an opposite philosophy to the era of body modification (e.g. fitness, bodybuilding, dieting, plastic surgery), representing still physical body work and body related consumer activity.

Methodology was chosen in alignment with consumer culture theory and constructivist research philosophy in order to deeply understand and interpret the data. Data was gathered via semi-structured in-depth interviews and then analyzed with approach of thematic discourse analysis to gain understanding in how respondents talk about their experiences as dancers and what kind of latent meanings and themes there are behind the words.

As the result, 5 themes were drawn from data analysis. Themes reflected respondents' deep intrinsic motivation for dancing and using dance as a tool to identity work. Respondents also expressed dualistic orientation concerning their dancing. They were coping with negative emotions by dancing and experiencing still dance activity related anxieties. The key element was to accept imperfection and failure and gain empowerment to still continue dancing. Acceptance came also in form of embracing the functional body through dance instead of trying to modify the body as an object, this effect is referred to as embodying. Dance has an extremely strong emotional component to dancers to extent of not recognizing dance activity as a sport or exercise primary, but as an emotional expression. All this happens in strongly socialized environment of dance clubs and social dance communities in tight physical and emotional contact with dance partners. This sociocultural context gives frame and foundation participation in activity for respondents. As a conclusion, the partnered dance culture is embodying, equalizing and socializing community, which empowers and protects consumers against self-objectification related behavior and has clear positive effects on psychosocial and physical well being of participants. Utilization of embodying environments as well as images should hence be enhanced in marketing actions and communications.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.