Managing dramaturgical dilemmas:youth drinking and multiple identities

Cocker, Hayley Louise and Piacentini, Maria Grazia and Banister, Emma Neva (2018) Managing dramaturgical dilemmas:youth drinking and multiple identities. European Journal of Marketing, 52 (5-6). pp. 1305-1328. ISSN 0309-0566

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Purpose This paper aims to understand how young people manage the dramaturgical dilemmas related to drinking alcohol and performing multiple identities. Design/methodology/approach Drawing on qualitative data collected with 16-18-year olds, the authors adopt Goffman’s dramaturgical perspective to examine youth alcohol consumption in relation to multiple identities. Findings Young people continuously and skilfully juggle multiple identities across multiple contexts, where identities overflow and audiences and interactions overlap. Techniques of audience segregation, mystification and misrepresentation and justification are used to perform and manage multiple identities in a risky health behaviour context. Research limitations/implications The approach may facilitate some over- and under-claiming. Future studies could observe young people’s performances of self across multiple contexts, paying particular attention to how alcohol features in these performances. Practical implications Social marketing campaigns should demonstrate an understanding of how alcohol relates to the contexts of youth lives beyond the “night out” and engage more directly with young peoples’ navigation between different identities, contexts and audiences. Campaigns could tap into the secretive nature of youth alcohol consumption and discourage youth from prioritising audience segregation and mystification above their own safety. Originality/value Extant work has argued that consumers find multiplicity unmanageable or manage multiple identities through internal dialogue. Instead, this paper demonstrates how young people manage multiple identities through interaction and performance. This study challenges the neat compartmentalisation of identities identified in prior literature and Goffman’s clear-cut division of performances into front and back stage.

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Journal Article
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European Journal of Marketing
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This article is (c)2018 Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here (URL of the record on the Pure Portal). Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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23 Mar 2018 16:18
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 02:14