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Rethinking consumer resistance: consuming 'anti-consumption'

Brownlie, Douglas and Hewer, P.A. (2009) Rethinking consumer resistance: consuming 'anti-consumption'. In: 34th Annual Macromarketing Conference, 2009-06-04 - 2009-06-07.

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Abstract

The cultural logic of consumer resistance is our subject. The object of inquiry is a virtual community of car enthusiasts and a series of online discussions of bricolage in the empirical setting of car modification. We open an analytical window on a variety of everyday practices that characterize how consumers use the available popular material culture of cars in creative ways finding there resources for sustaining social identity projects. Also illuminated are ways in which arenas of ‗anti-consumption' (Baudrillard, 1998: 91) are invested with particular meanings grounded within practices of daily life. Through analysing forms of reportage naturally occurring in those online sites, textual data is generated about consumption contexts that we read as constitutive of forms of consumer practice, including the construction of choice and the shaping of markets. Theorising resistance through de Certeau's (1984) lens of everyday practice brings analysis to ‗grounded aesthetics' (Willis, 1990) as a potential arena in which resistive practices are played out. We argue that the social logic of differentiation suggests that ‗resistance', like beauty, is typically in the eye of the beholder.