Negotiating identity reconstruction through consumption: An analysis of the experiences of consumers with acquired sensory impairments

Anthony Beudaert, Nil Özçaglar-Toulouse, and Meltem Türe (2015). Published in R.W. Belk, J.B. Murray et A. Thyroff, Research in Consumer Behavior, vol. 17, Routledge, pp. 349-366.

mannequin-boisPurpose: This paper aims at revealing the process of identity reconstruction for individuals who have acquired sensory disabilities, as well as the contribution of consumption to this process.

Methodology/approach: The data was collected through both interviews conducted in France and autobiographical accounts.

Findings: When disability occurs, individuals go through a rite of passage that shapes their identity reconstruction process. Two forms of liminality appear: acute and sustained liminality. These phases can foster or hamper individuals’ identity reconstruction.

Research limitations/implications: The mechanisms leading from one stage of the identity reconstruction process to another should be deepened through further research.

Practical/social implications: Given the fluctuating behaviors of consumers with disabilities, especially in view of their identity reconstruction process, this research encourages retailers and public policy actors not to consider them as a homogeneous consumer segment.

Originality/value: While scholars dealing with consumers with disabilities have mainly focused on the accessibility of the marketplace, this research disentangles their identity issues.