Gettysburg re-imagined: The role of narrative imagination in consumption experience

Athinodoros Chronis, Eric J. Arnould, Ronald D. Hampton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigate the role of imagination in the consumption experience and we theorize the ways in which important collective narratives are (re)imagined at storyscapes - consumption spaces where narratives are the focal object of consumption. We ground our empirical investigation in the historical narrative of the American Civil War and we explore ethnographically the ways in which this historical episode is (re)imagined and articulated in tourism at Gettysburg. Our research provides an alternative account to mental imagery theory that is based on restrictive cognitive conceptions of imagination and expands narrative-based theories of consumption experiences. We argue that the workings of imagination in tourism sites are inextricably linked to the production of cultural imaginaries, that is, socially important narratives invested with collective values; we illustrate the process through which cultural imaginaries are co-constructed at storyscapes; we develop theoretically the concept of consumer imagination; and we make a case for consumer imagination as a social process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-286
JournalConsumption Markets & Culture
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012

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