Smith, Alexander (2017) Exploring the interrelationship between the meanings of homeownership and identity management in a liquid society: a case study approach. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Identity research in consumer studies typically perceives consumers as bearers of fragmented, multiple postmodern identities. Contemporary social theory, broadly supporting this perspective, suggests that tradition is no longer required for the successful construction and maintenance of an identity. Unfettered from the restrictions of tradition, identities are asserted to have been liberated from the impositions of social and cultural institutions.
However, this perspective appears to neglect the notion that individuals might actually desire tradition and social practice to develop a coherent, stable sense of self. This thesis explores the meanings of tenure - private renting and owner-occupation - to elucidate how these deeply felt connotations can affect individuals’ identities and their sense of self. In doing so this thesis articulates how the prospective consumption, or non-consumption, of a traditional practice – home ownership - can potentially have profound implications for one’s identity, overall sense of self and consumption behaviour.
The results of this thesis were generated by conducting 30 qualitative interviews with private renters aged between 24 and 30 years old in Stoke-on-Trent using a case study approach. The findings indicate that identities are heavily influenced by the different meanings and interpretations of private renting and owner-occupation. Furthermore, the role of tradition to identity, and in particular to an overall coherent sense of future self, was found to be highly salient. Contextualised by Zygmunt Bauman’s ‘Liquid’ sociology, the findings of this study suggest that a threatened sense of future self can engender identity and consumption related practices that seek to affirm, re-affirm and defend one’s sense of self against stigmatising discourses.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Keele Management School
Contributors: Surman, E (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2018 10:44
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2020 12:23

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