1st Edition

Consumption, Psychology and Practice Theories A Hermeneutic Perspective

By Tony Wilson Copyright 2019
    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    Practice theories of our equipped and situated tacit construction of participatory narrative meaning are evident in multiple disciplines from architectural to communication study, consumer, marketing and media research, organisational, psychological and social insight. Their hermeneutic focus is on customarily little reflected upon, recurrent but required, practices of embodied, habituated knowing how—from choosing ‘flaw-free’ fruit in a market to celebrating Chinese New Year Reunion Dining, caring for patients to social media ‘voice’. In ready-to-hand practices, we attend to the purpose and not to the process, to the goal rather than its generating. Yet familiar practices both presume and put in place fundamental understanding. Listening to Asian and Western consumers reflecting—not only subsequent to but also within practices—this book considers activity emplacing core perceptions from a liminal moment in a massive mall to health psychology research. Institutions configure practices-in-practices cohering or conflicting within their material horizons and space accessible to social analysis.

    Practices theory construes routine as minimally self-monitored, nonetheless considering it as being embodied narrative. In research output, such generic ‘storied’ activity is seen as (in)formed, shaped from a shifting hierarchy of ‘horizons’ or perspectives—from habituated to reflective—rather than a single seamless unfolding. Taking a communication practices route disentangles and avoids conflating tacit and transformative construction of identities in qualitative research. Practices research crosses discipline. Ubiquitous media use by managers and visitors throughout a shopping mall responds to investigating not only with digital tracking expertise but also from an interpretive marketing viewpoint. Visiting a practice perspective’s hermeneutic underwriting, spatio-temporal metaphorical concepts become available and appropriate to the analysis of communication as a process across disciplines. In repeated practices, ‘horizons of understanding’ are solidified. Emphasising our understanding of a material environment as ‘equipment’, practices theory enables correlation of use and demographic variable in quantitative study extending interpretive behavioural and haptic qualitative research.

    Consumption, Psychology and Practice Theories: A Hermeneutic Perspective addresses academics and researchers in communication studies, marketing, psychology and social theory, as well as university methodology courses, recognising philosophy guides a discipline’s investigative insight.

    Introduction: Crossing Hermeneutic Horizons of Culture and Discipline

    Chapter One: Mind the Gap?: Bridging Philosophical Hermeneutics and Practice Theories

    Chapter Two: Hermeneutic Social Theory of Practices: Conjoining Philosophy and Sociology

    Chapter Three: Hermeneutic Practices in the Business School: Reflection In/On Habituated Consuming

    Chapter Four: Consuming Psychology: Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Thematic Understanding in Hermeneutic Practices

    Chapter Five: Consumer Practices Viewing Screens: A Hermeneutic Perspective on Constructing Identities

    Conclusion: Hermeneutic Practices: From Anthony Giddens to Algorithmically Generated ‘Horizons of Understanding’ (Hans-Georg Gadamer)


    Tony Wilson is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Media and Communications. He has taught extensively in universities, both for arts and social science faculties (in Australia, England, Malaysia and Scotland) and economics and business faculties (in Malaysia). The present monograph is his seventh book on hermeneutics.

    "The book works best if seen as a single long meditation on how we need to think today about the sheer diversity and depth of our entanglements with media. Although its language is intricate and complex, the book repays the reader's efforts as an impassioned and highly distinctive contribution to current debates about how researchers should equip themselves to grapple with bewildering change in the modern media sensorium. Wilson's deeply informed choice of a hermeneutic approach that remains fully attentive to technological complexity (for example Twitter and Youtube) is very welcome at a time when Big Data approaches seem to hold all the cards in the social sciences." Nick Couldry, London School of Economics, University of London, UK