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Talking to Ourselves: A Dialogical Exploration of Consumption Experiences

  • Shalini Bahl
  • George R. Milne
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    This article introduces the dialogical nature of self to study consumers' inner dialogs in order to understand consumers' marketplace decisions and conflicts. The authors explore the meaning of consumption at multiple self levels and dialogical relationships to manage differences. The study uses mixed methods including in-depth interviews, multidimensional scaling, cluster analysis, and metaphors to distill important voices in their informants. They find that the consumption stories vary across self levels. The meta-self level reflects a dispassionate representation of the primary I-positions in consumers and does not explain what the consumers experience at the time of actual consumption. An examination of inconsistent consumption preferences at the level of I-positions reveals that dialogical relationships labeled compartmentalization, compassion, negotiation, and coalition can avoid and manage conflicts, while relationships involving opposition and domination reflect unresolved conflicts. Suggestions to use the dialogical self model for addressing issues of negative selves, addictions, and domination in future research are provided. (c) 2009 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..

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    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (06)
    Pages: 176-195

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:v:37:y:2010:i:1:p:176-195
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