Online from: 1998
Subject Area: Marketing
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|Title:||What can phenomenology offer the consumer?: Marketing research as philosophical, method conceptual|
|Author(s):||Tony Wilson, (Sunway University Business School, Jalan Universiti, Bandar Sunway, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)|
|Citation:||Tony Wilson, (2012) "What can phenomenology offer the consumer?: Marketing research as philosophical, method conceptual", Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Vol. 15 Iss: 3, pp.230 - 241|
|Keywords:||Consumer perception, Hermeneutics, Malaysia, Marketing communications, Media, Phenomenology|
|Article type:||Conceptual paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/13522751211231969 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||The author would like to thank the Globalisation and Culture Program in the Global Cities Research Institute, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia for academic support in writing this article.|
Purpose – Consumer discourse is a narrative of generically (in)formed, goal-directed activity. If research interprets such practice, it is often deemed to draw upon phenomenology. Returning to the philosophers (Gadamer, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Ricoeur) who shaped phenomenology, the purpose of this paper is to argue that consumer studies should further cultivate their important insight – that action (particularly perceiving) is structured temporally as always already realising our pre-given meaning. Entities are
Design/methodology/approach – Drawing upon authoritative academic resources, the paper proceeds from philosophical definition to resulting analytical methods in marketing research, using a brief Malaysian case study as an example. Philosophically, phenomenology's core perception is of persons as located in a life-world of socially shared concepts whose employment/ emplotment is said to “fore-structure” (Heidegger) their understanding, shaping their “projections” (Gadamer) or expectation of events. Phenomenology posits one engages in a “hermeneutic circle of understanding” – aiming at resolving contradiction between such “fore-sight” and our subsequent perceptions of events. Consumers thematise “pre-understood” experience in articulating their storied accounts.
Findings – Drawing on phenomenology's account of perceiving, the paper suggests qualitative marketing research unpacks consumers' generic expectation of branding narrative as equipment enabling potentiality-for-being, regarding narrative as addressing assumed audience expectation.
Originality/value – The paper provides a conceptual route through phenomenology's application to marketing communication research practice.
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