Edited by Samuel Cameron
Chapter 12: Leisure Tribe-onomics
Daragh O’Reilly INTRODUCTION Since the 1990s, there has been a considerable growth in the body of theory which deals with collective consumption or consumer groups. A wide repertoire of terms now exists with which to talk about consumer ‘groupness’, including user group, brand culture, tribe, neo-tribe, brand tribe, user community, brand community, cult, scene, microculture, subculture and so on. Examples of these groups include many which are linked to leisure activities, for example, musical subcultures such as Goths, punks and metalheads; skydivers; bikers; gay and lesbian subcultures; skateboarders; fantasy and science fiction fans; and yuppies. For those seeking conceptual clarity in this field, the proliferation of academic constructs does not help matters. However, all of these groups have certain issues in common, for example, their boundaries with the outside, membership criteria and assessment, group composition, intra-group hierarchies, group values, group identity, the tension and/or fit between group and individual identities, spirituality/religiosity and heritage. From a leisure economics point of view, the question must be: what are the economic implications of this ‘groupness’? There has been little attention paid within the leisure studies journal literature to notions of collective consumption, and practically none given to notions such as ‘brand communities’ and ‘consumer tribes’ which have proven to be very popular within marketing and consumer studies. The social grouping and behaviour of consumers during their leisure activities have a clear economic impact, particularly when these are linked with celebrity and fandom. The aims of this chapter are to bring some of the...
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