Conflicts and Challenges in Practices of Commercializing Humans: An Ethnographic Study of Influencer Marketing Work

Research output: Book/ReportPhD thesis

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Abstract

This dissertation is a multi-sited ethnography of influencer marketing work. By empirically studying influencer marketing, this dissertation explores the nexus between commercialization and personalization as a bundle of activities across sites. Sites are understood as different arenas with a history and an ontological uniqueness. From this perspective, influencer marketing is explored as a practice in its own right, and to empirically study it as such, this dissertation uses practice theory as the enabling theory. Throughout the three papers that constitute this dissertation, practice theory is used as the ontological lens to understand influencer marketing and as an epistemological lens to empirically explore the practice.
This dissertation presents three journal articles referred to as papers 1,2, and 3, which all empirically and qualitatively explore influencer marketing work. The three journal articles present three different theoretical lenses that holistically enable readers to get an in-depth understanding of how challenges emerge in the nexus of commercialization and personalization within influencer marketing work. However, the three papers individually illustrate how challenges within the nexus of commercialization and personalization occur in three different ways. In this dissertation, commercialization and personalization are understood as two different logics that represent different ideals and values, which motivate actions and meaning. This dissertation illustrates how influencer marketing, as a practice across sites, draws on both logics. Moreover, this dissertation illustrates how this causes tensions for the social media influencer
(SMI) who represents the worker, and for the practice itself who signifies the work. By doing so, this dissertation shows how the nexus constitutes new digital ethics of self-management in digital creative work (paper 1). It illustrates how influencer marketing constitutes a new type of digital work where the worker is framed, monitored, and governed to perform emotions (paper 2). Finally, this dissertation demonstrates how influencer marketing as a marketing practice that merges the two logics, how this challenges the work and suggests solutions to overcome challenges within the work (paper 3).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Number of pages165
ISBN (Print)9788775681273
ISBN (Electronic)9788775681280
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesPhD Series
Number37.2022
ISSN0906-6934

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