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CRITICAL RESEARCH IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
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Former Projects

Negotiating managed consumption: young people, branding and social identification processes - Andrew Bengry-Howell Yvette Morey

The corporate branding of youth culture is well documented, but how young people engage with contemporary branding and marketing practices has received far less attention. This project brought together debates in Marketing, Social Geography and research from the Social Psychology of Consumption to investigate how young people negotiate and position themselves in relation to branded leisure spaces, and contemporary forms of ‘experiential’, ‘emotional’ and viral marketing. The study considered how young people negotiate commercially constituted spaces that are designed to offer them the opportunity to be ‘free’ and authentically ‘themselves’. It compared two types of music-related leisure event: Music festivals and free parties, both of which play a significant role in young adults’ lives, but have different levels of commercial involvement. Music festivals are increasingly branded events with substantial levels of commercial involvement, and relatively managed and regulated forms of consumption on offer. Free parties, by contrast, involve minimal levels of commercial involvement and have a history of opposition to a consumerist ethos. The project investigated the ways in which young adults position themselves and others in relation to the forms of branding, marketing and consumption on offer at these different leisure sites.

 

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