Who am I without my stuff?

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: In a world where migration has dramatically increased over the last 30 years, migrant consumers have become an important market actor. When migrant consumers geographically relocate they potentially experience changes in their identity, while different factors influence their acculturation to the host culture. Consumer acculturation literature within Consumer Culture Theory has studied this topic from different angles but one that has not been deeply analyzed is related to the loss of possessions migrants experience when they relocate. They cannot take all their belongings with them, having to choose and carry just a few of the most significant ones. Previous literature has studied how losing possessions is like losing a part of the self. For migrants, the loss of belongings leads to experiencing grief that, even though influences every person to a different extent, has one thing in common: it could potentially affect their identity. Therefore, this research analyses how the loss of possessions influences acculturation. Specifically, our findings highlight three ways in which this influence is present: the loss of possessions causes loss of identity projects, it causes the maintenance of hobbies and routines to recover familiarity, and it increases the self-awareness of migrant consumers. We conclude by presenting how these three ways also influence their consumption choices, we bring to the table the concept of nostalgia, linking value, and global consumer culture.

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