Dissociative Fashion Practices and Identity Conflicts: Local Resistance as a Response to Clothing Acculturation in the Context of Rural-urban Migration

Man Lok Lam, Eric Ping Hung Li, Wing Sun Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of the present study is to examine how local consumers disassociate themselves from migrants' acculturative practices and negotiate their identity through the symbolic consumption of fashion. Design/methodology/approach: Data for this interpretive study were obtained via phenomenological interviews with locally-born Chinese youth in Guangzhou, China, to examine their acculturative consumption practices as well as their subjective experiences of perceived threats to their lifestyle imposed by the influx of outsiders. Snowballing and purposive sampling methods were adopted in recruiting the research participants. Findings: Data analyses revealed that local consumers adopt three dissociative strategies (stigmatization, avoidance and self-assertion) in order to ascribe meanings to their fashion consumption practices as a means of resolving identity conflicts and differentiate themselves from the migrant consumers. Research limitations/implications: This research offers a single perspective (i.e. that of local-born young consumers residing in Guangzhou) on the locals' attitudes aimed at distinguishing and negotiating their identities in an intercultural setting via specific fashion-clothing choices. This research has theoretical implications for the consumer acculturation theory and identity negotiation. Practical implications: Findings yielded by the present study have important implications for commercial companies focusing on fashion consumption, in particular for marketing practices aimed at rural-urban identification and youth market segmentation. Social implications: This study contributes to the existing discussion on consumer acculturation by offering an intracultural perspective to the understanding of local consumers' responses to migrants' acculturation. It also provides managerial insights for fashion retailers, prompting them to rethink their market segmentation strategies to address population mobility in the marketplace and better understand how it alters the in-between social relationships that result in different consumption patterns and practices. Originality/value: This study contributes to the existing discussion on youth consumer acculturation theories by offering an intercultural perspective to the understanding of local consumers' responses to migrants' acculturation attempts. It also offers managerial insights for fashion retailers, prompting them to rethink their market segmentation strategies to address population mobility and better understand how it alters the social relationships that result in different consumption patterns and practices.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Fashion Marketing and Management
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Acculturation
  • Chinese consumers
  • Consumer identity
  • Fashion consumption
  • Rural–urban migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing

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