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Darren Dahl (Editor in Chief)Eileen FischerGita JoharVicki Morwitz

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Consumer Identity Work as Moral Protagonism: How Myth and Ideology Animate a Brand-Mediated Moral Conflict

Marius K. Luedicke, Craig J. Thompson, Markus Giesler
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/644761 1016-1032 First published online: 1 April 2010


Consumer researchers have tended to equate consumer moralism with normative condemnations of mainstream consumer culture. Consequently, little research has investigated the multifaceted forms of identity work that consumers can undertake through more diverse ideological forms of consumer moralism. To redress this theoretical gap, we analyze the adversarial consumer narratives through which a brand-mediated moral conflict is enacted. We show that consumers’ moralistic identity work is culturally framed by the myth of the moral protagonist and further illuminate how consumers use this mythic structure to transform their ideological beliefs into dramatic narratives of identity. Our resulting theoretical framework explicates identity-value–enhancing relationships among mythic structure, ideological meanings, and marketplace resources that have not been recognized by prior studies of consumer identity work.

  • Cultural Theories and Analysis
  • Symbolic Consumption/Semiotics
  • Situation/Context Issues
  • Case Study
  • Text Interpretation
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