The Real Thing: A discourse analysis of authenticity in private fashion and lifestyle blogs

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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Abstract Objectives of the Study The objective of this research is to understand how consumers talk about authenticity in the context of private fashion and lifestyle blogs. Theoretical foundation The theoretical background is compiled of previous research on the discourses, which construct the discussion of authenticity. The literature review discusses authenticity in consumer behaviour, presenting life in private blogs, motivations for blogging and private blogs as consumer-generated advertising. Methodology This study applied methods of qualitative research. The empirical part is based on data collected in nine semi-structured interviews. The interviewees were selected based on their familiarity with private fashion and lifestyle blogs. Additionally, voluntary readership and following these blogs on one's own time was required. Data is analysed by using methods of thematic analysis and discourse analysis. Findings The main results of the thesis stress the emergence of three discursive main themes. The three discussions used to construct meanings of authenticity in the context of private fashion and lifestyle blogs are: life retold in personal blogs, motivations for blogging and weighing authority and agency. In the theme of life retold in blogs, authenticity is approached by meanings of real life and life that is perceived as modified. In the second discursive main theme meanings of self-expression motivations and desire for financial rewards are being pondered. The third discursive theme includes making sense of the balance of authority and agency between independent bloggers and company involvement in private blogs. Together these discursive themes construct the discussion of authenticity in this study. Talk of authenticity builds on self-referential goals. Blog readers talk about identification and personal benefit while negotiating self-referral authenticity.
Authenticity, private blogs, fashion and lifestyle blogs, discourse, discourse analysis
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