The Art of Enchantment - Examining the Role of Fantastic Narratives in Service Experiences Through the Case of Escape Rooms
Abstract: The concept of an economy of experiences represents a social phenomenon which has been gaining momentum within both industry and academia in recent years, with experiences being hailed as the new predominant offering. Yet, while the ability of narratives to address people emotionally, enrich, and differentiate experience offers by creating so-called magic has been recognised, the potential of the narrative genre centrally concerned with magic and the discovery of new worlds seems thus far to have been neglected in the context of experience co-creation. In short, experience research has largely remained silent on the subject of one of the oldest and most deeply human media of experiencing in a research- and working culture dominated by logico-scientific thought. Through a largely exploratory approach, this thesis therefore sets out to investigate the interdisciplinary potential provided by an application of literary theory and fantasy to the comprehension of the experience co-creation process. For this purpose, the phenomenon of escape gaming – a form of hedonic experience which often transports people into a story – will provide the basis for offering a reading and re-emplotment of hedonic co-creation processes as fantastic narratives, which have the potential to create uniquely human experiences. As such, this thesis contributes to experience research by generating an understanding of the co-creation process across different experience stages based on narrative thought, as well as to narrative research in the social sciences by viewing narratives as much more than a methodological tool, but rather as overarching concepts with the potential to frame an experience and thereby enchant the customer.
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