Skating dialectics and flipping genealogy

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Purpose – This interpretive study aims to demonstrate how dialectics might hamper researchers' imagination, inspiration, and insight that can otherwise enhance the understanding of a variety of phenomena in consumer-market dynamics and subsequently propose Foucauldian genealogy as an alternative to theorize such dynamics in the current consumer culture.

Methodology/approach – An ethonographic field study is conducted in the context of X Games, followed by an empirical juxtaposition of semiotic square, as a dialectical analysis, and a genealogical analysis of the same textual data.

Findings – Consumer-market dynamics operate based on interactions and mutual facilitations among four theoretically and empirically distinct groups of consumers in the context of X Games: pragmatic, stigmatized, distinction-oriented, and self-normalizing consumers. The historic conflict between consumers and the market steeped in Hegelian dialectics is contested in the dynamics due to the switch of modes(arts) of being(consumption) made by individual consumers who respectively participate in the system through presentation and representation.

Implications – A multitude of reality/truth-making is present in the consumer-market dynamics; thus, the dialectical view of the systematic progression of the market is found to be less implicative than the genealogical view of the system as polyvalent power relations.

Publisher's Statement

Publisher’s version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/S0885-2111(2011)0000013013

Publication Title

Research in Consumer Behavior