Exploring Fantasy in Consumer Experiences

Seregina, Anastasia. 2014. Exploring Fantasy in Consumer Experiences. Research in Consumer Behavior, 16, pp. 19-33. ISSN 0885-2111 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Fantasy is a concept often used in everyday life and in academic research. While it has received attention in consumer research due to its connection to desires, community creation, meaning evocation, and identity development, it lacks a commonly shared understanding. This paper explores and theorizes consumers’ experiences of fantasy as performed in real-life situations.
The research was conducted as an ethnographic study of live action role-playing games (LARP) and analyzed through the lens of performance theory.
LARPs are performances that take place between imagina- tion and embodied reality, with participants drawing on each realm to enrich the other. Consumption elements of LARP include media products and materials used in creating settings, costumes, and props. LARPers gain various benefits from the performance of fantasy, including escapist entertainment, self-reflection, personal growth, and participation in social criticism. Fantasy performance is, therefore, an important andunder-theorized vehicle for consumer identity development and social interaction.
Theoretical implications This research theorizes the experience of fantasy as a performance that takes place between reality and imagina- tion. As such, it involves both embodied and social aspects that have largely been ignored in prior research. A richer theorization of fantasy performance promises greater insights into research areas including the dynamics of consumer identity projects and of consumption communities.

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Fantasy, imagination, LARP, identity, performance theory

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


22 October 2014Published

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Date Deposited:

20 Nov 2018 17:05

Last Modified:

21 Apr 2021 15:56

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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