This chapter examines the interplay between identity verification and painful consumer experiences. To understand this relationship the authors draw from three ethnographies from around the world: pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, Tough Mudder obstacle course participants and British football fans. Their data show that through pain, identity verification work can be intensified, suspended or refocused. Firstly, pain can trigger an intense introspective process of self-verification through which consumers better understand who they are, and grow beyond themselves. Secondly, pain helps consumers to dismiss self-verifying behavior by temporarily suspending their ability to acquire self-confirmatory reactions. Thirdly, consumers can use their pain to refocus their identity verification work to redefine the limits of their self-concept following life transitions. These insights enhance our understanding of how the experience of physical pain can open up various opportunities for identity verification.
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