Re-contextualising Consumer Escapism : Binge-watching and the Unexpected Effects of an Escape

Jones, Scott and Piacentini, Maria and Cronin, James (2021) Re-contextualising Consumer Escapism : Binge-watching and the Unexpected Effects of an Escape. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The aim of this doctoral thesis is to deepen and expand the contextualisation of consumer escapism and the research recognises that personal experiences influence and impact on escapism as do more distant and remote events that take place in the wider world. Much of the extant work in the Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) tradition of consumer research has explored escapism in terms of investigating extraordinary experiences and framing an escape as something that is different and separate to everyday life. Drawing upon the context of binge-watching, this thesis explores how escapism is integrated and woven within consumers’ everyday lives, taking place in mundane contexts that we live within. This thesis sets out to interrogate the nature and character of self-electing to tune in and get lost in narratives over extended periods of time and immersion to develop new theoretical concepts to address this form of escapism. The context for this study was a three-year (2016-2019) micro-ethnographic study of consumer’s binge-watching of TV shows, particularly the Netflix political drama, House of Cards (2013-18). The methods used to triangulate the data include semi-structured in-depth interviews, subjective personal introspection, diary entries, telephonic communications and use of videographic and visual materials. The emergent findings show that escapism is pervasive, interacting with our thoughts, fantasies, imaginations and linked to our interests like fandom. To experience an escape is contingent on various preconditions being met. This thesis makes contributions to our understanding of how consumers seek out and experience an escape and accounts for an escape lasting beyond the point of consumption. The research theorises how an escape can deliver unexpected outcomes that consumers may not necessarily expect. The thesis is presented in alternative format with four of its chapters being delivered as research articles. Each article presents specific research objectives which stem from the overall aim of the study.

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Thesis (PhD)
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15 Dec 2021 09:22
Last Modified:
12 Mar 2024 00:03