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Title: The fast food consumption experiences and identity construction of British Muslims: a phenomenological study
Authors: Ibrahim, Adham
Supervisors: Davies, Andrea
Tadajewski, Mark
Award date: 17-Dec-2015
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: Engaging with new literature on Islamic Marketing as well as general theoretical work in consumer research, this study, adopting an approach modelled on Consumer Culture Theory (CCT), explores the dynamics of fast food consumption and identity construction of British Muslim consumers. The focus revolves around the growth of halal fast food choices and, using that, understands how British Muslims negotiate their process of identity construction within the context of religious, social, and cultural forces. Phenomenological interviews were conducted to facilitate the capturing of the participants’ own understandings of key terms, like halal and fast food, and to explore their experiences of their religion, their communities, and the larger social context within which they consume food. The analysis revealed participants mostly identified a multiple or double identity around their sense of themselves as Muslims and as British citizens. For the most part, the participants expressed that their identity as Muslims as a more central or stable identity. However, each of the participants described their interpretation of Islam as accommodating their participation in, and adoption of, many British customs, behaviours, values, and other cultural attributes. Some of the participants viewed their Muslim identity as being dominant or primary, while others saw being Muslim as just another identity that they maintain and as the same as any other socio-cultural factor. The analysis also highlighted a striking diversity in the understanding not only of halal, but also of larger questions relating to Islam as well as the orientation of the participants towards fast food in general. The active differentiation the participants offered between themselves and other Muslims shows that, instead of halal being a means of constructing an identity as a British Muslim, they used their particular interpretation of halal to construct their identities as individuals, distinguishing them both from non-Muslim Britons and from other Muslims in their community. The analysis also revealed a limited sense of the symbolic nature of fast food among the participants. The participants saw fast food as a way of satisfying their physiological urges, rather than as a way of forging social bonds, identifying themselves through their choices, or reinforcing their cultural identities. Fast food consumption was seen as solitary and individual. This does not, by itself, mean that the individual who consumes fast food is an independent agent, but it does undermine the social aspect of fast food consumption.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, School of Management
Leicester Theses

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