HMS Titanic, Elvis Presley and Cadbury's Wispa Bar: an analysis of the consumption of trauma.
In: Consumer Culture Theory Conference 6 , 7-10 July 2011, Evanston, IL, USA.
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The embodiment of culture in possessions has been widely documented in consumer research. We argue that this process of embodiment is motivated by an emotional experience that remains relatively unexplored in the literature. In this paper we explore how this emotional meaning manifests in the consumption of trauma through three case-studies: HMS Titanic, Elvis Presley and Cadbury’s Wispa bar.
Analysis of the case-studies reveals that trauma consumption occurs through successive generations being unable or unwilling to detach from previous cultural-historical traumas. Consequently, individuals attempt to reconnect to these earlier traumas through seeking out opportunities to recreate not only an emotional state identifiable with that trauma but also by creating new memories related to that trauma. Supporting these experiences are related organisations that actively encourage consumers to engage in these experiences. In effect, both consumers and organisations aim to create a collected memory around cultural historical traumas.
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