Escaping by running away: The motivations behind minimalistic consumption in the form of barefoot running.
Abstract: The purpose of the study is to investigate the growing trend in consumers to go back to basic lifestyle and to reveal how different events, meanings, experiences and ideas have a role to play in this change in consumers’ attitude. The paper aims to understand this new rising trend and consumer interest and provide a theoretical explanation of the phenomenon. The study focuses on barefoot / minimalistic running as a viable example of such a change and focuses on gaining insight into why the transition happens. The purpose is to explore the reasons that motivate consumers to run barefoot in present times when they have all sorts of technologically advanced footwear that promise improved functions and extra support for running better. This research will tap into that specific sect of consumers who are attracted to this consumption. It is believed that it is not merely barefoot running, but in general there is a growing trend among consumers to seek simpler consumption patterns. Authenticity is an overarching phenomenon, and this study puts forth the possible themes through which a post-modern consumer is able to experience an authentic escape from mundane lives. First theme is the post-modern liberation which results in a fragmented individual. Consumers escape from their fragmented selves by shaping control-resistant identities which in turn are complemented by the Narrative individual identities of the consumers. The second theme shows the escape for authenticity in the form of a transcendent experience. By means of Nostalgia and a yearning for more natural and pure days gone by, the post-modern consumers achieve the desired unique authenticity. These themes help in explaining the research purpose of this study. The study takes interpretive epistemology and constructionist ontology as the philosophical stance. A logical choice of research strategy following the aim to study consumer behavior is qualitative research since it collects data in the form of words and stories to interpret people’s motivations, actions and choices. Furthermore an exploratory research design is used to track the themes this research is based on. The qualitative method chosen for this study are semi-structured interviews since they provide detailed information on how consumers see the world. The data is analysed using strategies that include hermeneutically grounded interpretive framework and hermeneutic circle which is a part of existential-phenomenology. These strategies are used to interpret and link the collected data to the research purpose and assist in answering the research question.
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