Edited by Russell W. Belk
Chapter 14: Unpacking the Many Faces of Introspective Consciousness: A Metacognitive–Poststructuralist Exercise
Stephen J. Gould Let us start with the idea that we are all introspectors. We assess all our experiences with the outer world reﬂexively in various forms and to varying degrees of introspection and self-consciousness. Moreover, intriguingly, we reﬂexively examine our own inner spaces to varying degrees and with varying sensitivities; that is, we engage in the practice of watching ourselves. While these issues tend to be psychological and cognitive, researchers taking a diﬀerent orientation have also applied introspection especially in consumer research as embodying a subjective narrative about oneself. Some key elements of the psychological view of introspection drawn in part from current developments in metacognitive research (one’s knowing about one’s knowing) concern what we are or are not conscious of concerning ourselves, how we demarcate between I and other, how much and how deeply we penetrate our own consciousness, how motivated we are in this regard, and just how we understand our own mind and thought. If we were to apply this understanding to a narrative point of view, the one largely followed in interpretive consumer research, we could consider how researchers and consumers construct these issues psychologically or use them to construct self stories. However the narrative approach does not, and generally might not even concern itself with such issues, instead focusing on the everyday story of one’s life and consumption, generally within cultural theory contexts. All these parametric elements of introspection are deﬁning, if not altogether reaching the level of a de...
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