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Experiencing the Past during Transformations in Life


  • Pilar Rojas Gaviria
  • Christian Bluemelhuber


In the context of a fast-paced world, consumers are increasingly exposed to transformation - divorcing, moving to other countries, reconstructing families,… The willingness to embrace change, which often accompanied those transformations in life, has been identified as an opportunity for marketing professionals to impact consumption habits. Our empirical work suggests that consumption during life transformations may facilitate actualizing one’s past to match with new life context. In this article, (i) we provide the resulting framework for characterizing this past actualization process; (ii) we induct from the data three mechanisms in which consumption experience facilitates past actualization: “Bricolage”, “Teddy bear” and “Past Flight”. Four in-depth case studies enlighten this agenda; their interpretation results from an iterative process leveraged on participants and on literature dealing with the subjects of personal narratives and changes in life. It is our intention to motivate further research on the role of consumption regarding the past during transformations in life.

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  • Pilar Rojas Gaviria & Christian Bluemelhuber, 2009. "Experiencing the Past during Transformations in Life," Working Papers CEB 09-052.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:09-052

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fournier, Susan, 1998. " Consumers and Their Brands: Developing Relationship Theory in Consumer Research," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 343-373, March.
    2. Thompson, Craig J & Tambyah, Siok Kuan, 1999. " Trying to Be Cosmopolitan," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 214-241, December.
    3. Schouten, John W, 1991. " Selves in Transition: Symbolic Consumption in Personal Rites of Passage and Identity Reconstruction," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 412-425, March.
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    life transformation; past actualization; personal narrative; “bricolage”; “teddy bear”; “past flight”;

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