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    A Critical Examination of the Influence of Digital Culture on Fashion Consumption Amongst Young People

    Odiase, Desmond (2021) A Critical Examination of the Influence of Digital Culture on Fashion Consumption Amongst Young People. Masters by Research thesis (MPhil), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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    Abstract

    Like globalization and urbanization, digital culture has transformed the world. Childhood has not been left behind, and as millions of children are brought into the world, they are immersed into digital culture to the extent that it appears to have become a way of life. This thesis considers the suggestion that childhood consumption has becoming increasingly intensified as a result. The research focuses on the relationship between digital culture and fashion consumption amongst young people, specifically pre-teens (aged 9 - 12), arguing that young people experience of fashion can tell us about how consumption is changing. The importance of focusing on pre-teens is to enrich the research as although consumption amongst young people has intensified, it particularly noticeable within this group. The argument is thus presented that we can better understand this relationship through the lens of pleasure-seeking. The thesis goes on to critically consider how digital culture impacts upon pre-teen consumers’ relationship with fashion and it does so through a particular focus on the process of sexualisation, with sexualisation being one of the behavioural patterns through which unconscious participation is imposed as a result of social media. The thesis contends that marketing communications via social media are being utilised to encourage a highly visible sexuality, particularly through fashion goods, with marketers positioning young people and their culture so that it may be sold for monetary gain. The analysis further demonstrates that while in one sense digital fashion consumption liberates young people and potentially offers them a sense of control over their identities, it also intensifies their consumption experience and the ability of consumption to impact upon their lives as a result of their search of pleasure and their fear of being rejected or of not belonging. The research concludes with regulations that could be implemented to regulate advertisers portraying emotive words/images targeted at young people, potential policies for tackling the sexualisation of young people, especially children and recommendations for further research on exploring young people fashion consumption under the lens of pleasure.

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