It's not as what we've been told: Exploring the influence of social media on women’s traditional modesty in visible offline and online identities: An examination within the mixed-gender spaces and social media public accounts in Saudi Arabia through the lens of CCT

Balelah, Aous (2020) It's not as what we've been told: Exploring the influence of social media on women’s traditional modesty in visible offline and online identities: An examination within the mixed-gender spaces and social media public accounts in Saudi Arabia through the lens of CCT. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Understanding the influence of social media on consumers’ self-concept and identity-related consumption, especially in religion-driven and conservative societies, is important for marketers. From a consumer behaviour point of view, understanding the process as well as the outcomes of such influence will enable researchers and practitioners to understand the attitudes, behaviours, and aspirations of consumers in these societies. The concept of modesty in such societies is an important factor in determining how offline and online visible identities are constructed. Thus, modesty as a concept and how it is actualized within visible identities is pivotal, whether in the offline or online realms, especially when there are gender-specific modesty-related laws and cultures that govern visible identities in mixed-gender spaces. This research explores the influence of social media on traditional modesty in offline and online visible identities within mixed-gender spaces in an Islamic society and public accounts, respectively. Since the nexus among social media, modesty, gender, and identity-driven consumption has not been explored in a socio-cultural context that is underpinned by conservatism, this study adopts the theoretical perspectives of Consumer Culture Theory (CCT), which accounts for the socio-cultural effects on consumer attitudes and behaviours.

Applying a qualitative approach, this study employs face-to-face interviews with 23 Saudi women, together with offline and online ethnography. Using a thematic analysis, a conceptual model and a set of propositions are developed. The findings of this study indicate that social media has significantly and systematically influenced the concept of modesty to the extent where traditional modesty standards were challenged on several levels in offline and online identities. For example, unconventional cultures and subcultures that revolve around beauty and style have started to emerge. However, the extent of such emergence is greater online than offline due to the emancipatory nature of social media, as opposed to the strong influence of family and society in the offline mixed-gender spaces. This study paves the way for future studies that aim to generalize the findings of relevant enquiries. Moreover, it will enrich consumer research, Islamic marketing, digital marketing, and CCT by providing in-depth and rich information about social media’s influence on conservative societies where identity-driven consumption is underpinned by distinctive expectations of modesty in visible identities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
Depositing User: Jennifer Whitaker
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2021 14:28
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2021 14:28
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/82641
DOI:

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