Handbook of Research on Identity Theory in Marketing
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Handbook of Research on Identity Theory in Marketing

Edited by Americus Reed and Mark Forehand

The Handbook of Research on Identity Theory in Marketing features cutting-edge research that delves into the origins and consequences of identity loyalty and organizes these insights around five basic identity principles that span nearly every consumer marketing subdomain. This Handbook is a comprehensive and state of the art treatment of identity and marketing: An authoritative and practical guide for academics, brand managers, marketers, public policy advocates and even intellectually curious consumers.
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Chapter 17: Identity verification through pain in extraordinary consumer experiences

Rebecca Scott, Katharina C. Husemann and Tim Hill


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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