Using Multi-Sited Ethnography: An Exploration of Consumer Resistance, Community and Power at New Consumption Communities

Moraes, Caroline (2014). Using Multi-Sited Ethnography: An Exploration of Consumer Resistance, Community and Power at New Consumption Communities. SAGE Research Methods Cases.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4135/978144627305014526833

Abstract

The research methods described in this case were used as part of my PhD project, which took place between 2003 and 2007. My aim was to gain an in-depth understanding of new consumption communities, that is, consumers who develop a sense of kind, shared rituals and traditions, and a feeling of responsibility towards each other based on their critical attitudes towards marketing and consumer culture. In the early 2000s, industry and marketing academics were becoming increasingly interested in the commercial potential of brand communities. But not many scholars paid attention to the potential for consumers to develop communities around their disillusions with consumer culture and their desire for more sustainable lifestyles.

Also, at that time (and to the best of my knowledge) consumer researchers had not yet used multi-sited ethnography to understand consumer behaviour. So, my research was innovative because it aimed to explore a topic that had been somewhat ignored by branding gurus, but also because it used a methodology that until then had not been used by marketing academics. This case study discusses the practical aspects of my PhD research and the specific challenges of using multi-sited ethnography in consumer studies. The case addresses the research process and also provides some practical tips for ethnographic research projects in marketing.

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