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Turning point of transformation: consumer communities, identity projects and becoming a serious dog hobbyist

By H. Syrjala

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The present paper aims to delineate the turning point of the transformation that takes place when a casual enthusiast becomes a serious hobbyist within the subculture of dog agility devotees. Thereby, this paper participates in prior discussions in consumer research that have deliberated on transformations. In particular, the current paper makes a theoretical contribution by focusing on a phase of transformation, the turning point of becoming a serious enthusiast, which has previously received little attention. Especially, the paper elaborates on how the transformations happen simultaneously at both the micro and macro levels. The study also introduces a novel conceptual lens, that of serious leisure, to the two prevalent theoretical discussions - identity projects and consumer communities. The methodology involves analytic autoethnography with a plentitude of supplementary data as a way of producing cultural text and talk. The findings identify five ambivalent, kaleidoscopic and non-exclusive positions that are intertwined in the identity project at the turning point of becoming a serious hobbyist: Identifying as an alpha (fe)male, Joining as a pack member, Working like a bull, Doing sports like a racer, and Experiencing like an overwhelmed puppy. These positions enable capturing the ways in which the transformations at the turning point are sustained, contrasted and produced in relation to multiple cultural resources and contexts. The findings also show how the enthusiast at the turning point of becoming a serious hobbyist engages with a multitude of dog-related businesses in order to establish his or her seriousness, and thereby the study constructs managerial implications through stressing the importance of a thorough understanding of meaning-making in the serious leisure communities.

Publication Title Journal of Business Research
Volume 69
Issue 1
Pages 177-190
ISBN/ISSN 0148-2963
Language English
Author Address University of Vaasa, Department of Marketing, P.O. Box 700, 65101 Vaasa,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals
  2. Canidae
  3. Canine
  4. Carnivores
  5. Communities
  6. Consumption
  7. Countries
  8. Developed countries
  9. Dogs
  10. Europe
  11. Finland
  12. Hobbies
  13. Mammals
  14. OECD countries
  15. peer-reviewed
  16. psychosocial issues
  17. Scandinavia
  18. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed