Symbolic Consumption Meanings in Subcultural Glocalisation: A Hermeneutic Analysis of the Sneakerheads of the Helsinki Region

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School of Business | Bachelor's thesis
Degree programme
(Mikkeli) Bachelor’s Program in International Business
71 + 26
Objectives The first objective of this study is to perform a hermeneutic analysis of consumption stories of the sneakerheads of the Helsinki region. The ways in which these consumers interpret and assign glocalised consumption meanings related to their footwear within the frameworks of their own personal histories, subcultural histories, and wider sociocultural history are unravelled. The second objective is to present the marketing implications of analysing the sneakerhead subculture as a platform for identity work. Summary This research was conducted through a qualitative study in which sneakerheads of the Helsinki region were interviewed about their consumption stories related to sneakers. Through a hermeneutic analysis, symbolic consumption meanings that these consumers associate with their footwear were traced and analysed. The prevalence of different local and global cultural referents for the sneakerheads of the Helsinki region was investigated. Conclusions The consumption meanings that the sneakerheads of the Helsinki region associate with their footwear are plural and heterogeneous, but points of convergence exist. Sneakers represent values such as communality, rebelliousness, self-expression and possibly even self-actualisation. Sneakerheads use their shoes as focal elements in their consumer identity projects and their culture of consumption is proposed as a platform for their identity work. Global cultural referents have more prevalence and influence than their local counterparts, but cultural referents inherent to the sneakerhead subculture of the Helsinki region exist and possess relevance for the study and practice of marketing. As such, it might be feasible to apply the glocal and translocal orientations to studying marketplace cultures of sneakerheads in parallel.
Thesis advisor
Shukla, Paurav
sneakerhead, glocalisation, hermeneutics, consumer culture theory, marketplace cultures, consumer identity projects
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