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Consumer Communities and Wellbeing: Two Studies on Power and Control in Contemporary Society

Associate Professor Anna Fyrberg Yngfalk, Stockholm University School of Business

21st Mar 2013  10:00 am - Room 214/215 Economics & Business Building

Study 1: Control and Power in Online Consumer Tribes - the Role of Confessions

The present study conceptualizes control processes in online consumer tribes by investigating consumers' confession practices. Previous research on consumer tribes tends to be salient about how confession practices facilitate control and the implications for consumer tribal life. Focusing on members' confessions across three online tribal domains of consumption, opera, sports, and cars, we demonstrate how confessions align tribe practices with the common tribe ethos. And we show how this constitutes tribal life as different subject positions that are fundamental for the reproduction of the consumer tribe.

Study 2: Servicing the Body - Power, Service Systems and Consumer Wellbeing

How service systems constitute consumer wellbeing has received renewed interest in service research. Previous research is drawing attention to issues of power and embodiment because wellbeing is assumed to involve health and happiness. Existing studies have not fully explored the role of power in service systems and in particularthe embodied aspects of how power is practiced. Therefore, this study investigates how a service system constructs and manages people as healthy consumers in the context of a weight loss community. Initial results show how consumers and service employees make painful and fierce investments in their bodies in the search for a healthier lifestyle and body for the common good.