Autopoiesis and the Home Confined Consumer: The Role of Personal Communities

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the consumption of a personal community and its role in the everyday life of the home-confined consumer. Design/methodology/approach – Using a Radical Constructivist approach, three cases of home confinement were explored in depth over a period of two years. Ongoing “conversations” captured the consumption experiences with personal communities. Findings – In relation to the home-confined context, the ability to attain individuality, empowerment and creativity are all heightened as a result of personal community construction. An underlying concern for home-confined consumers is their removal from independent living to institutionalized living, and, as a result the need to construct, manage and maintain a personal community is of major concern. Research limitations/implications – Although the study addresses a home-confined context, it is nevertheless reflective of concerns that are significant to all consumers, namely the attainment of individuality and independence irrespective of marginalization or not. Practical implications – The importance of a personal community in terms of both self-empowerment and self-identity with respect to marginalized groups and vulnerable individuals should not be underestimated. The supporting role of a personal community provides, in times of uncertainty, a framework to maintain self-identity and independence. Originality/value – This paper provides a better understanding of the role of a personal community in the consumption experiences of those consumers marginalized and vulnerable as a consequence of context. Home-confined consumers are “invisible” in the marketplace and the personal community is a means of redressing this imbalance by empowering such individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-188
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
VolumeVol. 27 Issue 3/4
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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