The Outsider on the Inside: Examining the Privileged Observer in Interpretivist Consumer Research

Susan Dunnett, K Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper is concerned with what it means to be an Interpretivist Consumer Researcher. What differentiates us from our positivist colleagues is that - metaphorically and, occasionally, literally - we get our hands dirty. As Arnould and Thompson (2005) point out, we ‘study in consumption contexts’, we situate our work, and ourselves, within a messy humanity. We speak to people, face to face, in their homes; we ‘hang out’ with them for months, sometimes years; we film them, take photographs of them; ask them to paint us a picture or tell us a story, we read their journals and join their clubs, all because we hope to see things as they do. But context is more than mere setting; it can be ‘a tool with which to fashion observations’ about particular behaviours or phenomena (Brownlie 2008 p. 522). We present the authors’ experiences of working with vulnerable consumers (Baker et al 2005) as just such a tool; a tool with which to explore the phenomenon of insider and outsider status in the research setting. Specifically we employ, as data, reflexive accounts of the interpretivist research experience.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Event, Interpretive Consumer Research Conference - , Denmark
Duration: 1 May 2011 → …

Conference

Conference, Interpretive Consumer Research Conference
Country/TerritoryDenmark
Period1/05/11 → …

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