Award Date

12-1-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Journalism and Media Studies

First Committee Member

Paul J. Traudt

Second Committee Member

Julian Kilker

Third Committee Member

Gary Larson

Fourth Committee Member

Nadia Pomirleanu

Number of Pages

138

Abstract

Postmodern society is marked by a condition where traditional identity markers have degenerated in value. Without the spatial or temporal connection provided by traditional identity markers, individuals look to brands perceived to be authentic to aide in identity construction. Paradoxically, individualized identities need the interpretive support of other likeminded individuals in specialized communities to give legitimacy to constructed identities. These specialized communities often focus around a lifestyle or a brand. This research employed interpretive qualitative methodology to understand authenticity. Semistructured depth interviews were conducted with members of the Brit Iron Rebels Las Vegas Clan to understand the authenticity of Triumph Motorcycles within the context of their specialized community. Results of study found that the indexical connection provided by ownership of Triumph Motorcycles and participation in specialized communities provides traditional identity markers lacking in postmodern society. In practice, analysis of data revealed that a genuine interest on the part of brand managers who participate in specialized motorcycle communities must trump commercial intentions.

Keywords

Authenticity (Philosophy); Brand Authenticity; Brand Communities; Branding (Marketing); Identity (Psychology); Individualization; Lifestyles; Postmodern Consumer Culture; Specialized Communities

Disciplines

Communication | Family, Life Course, and Society | Marketing

Language

English


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