Weaving Connections: Advancing Theoretical Insights into Gift Giving in the 2020s
British Academy of Marketing
This workshop aims is to create a space for scholars interested in gift giving to converse and develop research around transformative issues in gifting that impact individuals, communities, and society. We are currently exploring the option of a special issue of a journal associated with this event.
Gift giving research spans a variety of forms, practices and contexts, from material items to intangible experiences, time and labour, and from gifts to oneself to those offered to family members and distant communities. Using varied theoretical lenses, many authors (e.g. Belk, 1979; Mick, 1996) have long illuminated this pervasive, culturally significant phenomenon, making it one of the most productive research fields in marketing. Gift exchange functions as an important connective tissue within society and carries valuable symbolic dimensions (Sherry, 1983). As such it can contribute positively to the well-being of givers and receivers. In recent times, gift-giving research has increasing included a perspective of care, which has led to a number of interesting directions, including sharing (Belk, 2010), intracommunity (Weinberger & Wallendorf, 2012) and intra-cultural gifting (Kanno & Suzuki, 2020), charitable giving (Michel & Rieunier, 2012), prosocial gifting (Rifkin et al., 2020), re-gifting (Guido et al, 2016), and restorative gifting (Drenton et al., 2017).
Where gift-giving practices are situated within a specific social-cultural context (Otnes, 2018), it is relevant to assess how societal changes have shaped gift-giving behaviour. The current digital landscape, the growing concerns with sustainability, and changing household structures have transformed how people relate to each other, consume, and, ultimately, engage in gift giving. Dramatically, the ongoing pandemic has compelled people to re-imagine forms of being with, and giving to, others. These changes call for scholars to inquest and contribute theoretical insights onto the nature, practices and processes of gift giving in the 2020s.
This special session invites panellists to discuss novel and insightful perspectives and methods of looking into gift giving that contribute to advance the field. We are particularly interested in creating a forum for discussing advances in gift giving that point in pro-social and sustainable directions, in the spirit of the growing transformative movement in marketing scholarship. We particularly encourage discussions on “truly impactful gifts” (Otnes, 2018, 225) capable of transforming lives of those involved. Manuscripts addressing, but not restricted to, the following topics are encouraged: Self-gift giving; Integration/differentiation of types of giving; gifting and well-being; gift-giving research methods; E* /digital/ electronic gifting; giving, re-gifting and gifting as sharing to encompass sustainable gifting; Gift-giving processes; Prosocial gift-giving; new gifting contexts.
“Tell me ‘who’ and I will tell you ‘why’ and ‘how’: Integrating multiple gift-giving motivations”
Methodological innovations in qualitative consumer research
British Academy of Marketing
This workshop offers a platform to share novel qualitative methods in consumer research and discuss their potential to capture complexities of consumers and the contexts surrounding them that are often overlooked by established approaches. It also provides an opportunity to develop collaborative relationships amongst scholars interested in qualitative methods.
Understanding consumer behaviour in depth requires dealing with consumers’ inner lives in all of their complexities (Levy, 2005). Although they are widely used within qualitative research (Arsel, 2017), interviews may not produce all the information one requires, and standard qualitative methodologies can hamper understanding of subtle phenomena (Crick, 2021). More creative methods may be required for capturing different facets of consumer behaviour. Novel qualitative methods in consumer research include “walking interviews” where participants’ surroundings inform their narratives (Evans and Jones, 2011), such as interviews during shopping trips (Otnes et al, 1993); collages (Belk, et al., 2003); historical methods using archival data (Smith and Lux, 1993); diaries (Branco-Illodo et al., 2020); or projective techniques to capture unconscious thoughts and feelings (Heath and Nixon, 2021; Sherry et al., 1993). However, such approaches are underutilised in consumer research and there has been little systematic thinking about which methods or types of data are most valuable under which circumstances. In this workshop, we will discuss novel methodological approaches including those emerging from virtual landscapes e.g. netnography (Kozinets, 2019) and methods borrowed from other disciplines (e.g. health sciences). In the same way consumer research embraces “enabling theories” from disciplines such as psychology or sociology to allow original developments in consumer research (Dolbec et al., 2021), there is scope to use qualitative methods more commonly used in other research areas. For example, when narratives are combined with tools such as storytelling, play therapy or drama performance, they allow access to thoughts, feelings, and stories in ways that can be particularly helpful to collect data from children (Crick, 2021). We welcome contributions considering what kinds of analysis are appropriate within different data collection methods and on overcoming barriers to publishing research using a method that does not have an established base of exemplary work or theoretical support.
Finally, we are interested in papers addressing qualitative research that integrates multiple research methods. This is found in Roux and Belk’s (2019) integration of interviews, photograph, observations and analysis of websites and in the pairing of diaries with interviews, which is well established in health research and sociology (Elliot, 1997) and used in consumer research by Branco-Illodo et al. (2020). This requires thinking about how each method relates to the others and raises key questions: How do methods complement each other to allow for a bigger picture to be captured? How can the results of different methods be synthesised?
This session invites researchers to share novel qualitative approaches in consumer research and discuss how this field could move forward to facilitate understanding of the complexities of consumer experiences.