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PhD Program

PhD Alumni, Dr L. Mimoun receives the Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Award

PhD HEC Paris - image news - L. Mimoun, PhD 2018

We are very proud to announce that Dr Laetitia Mimoun, has been chosen by the editorial team of European Journal of Marketing as a Highly Commended Award winner of the 2018 Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Awards in the Marketing category.
Laetitia Mimoun is today lecturer at Cass Business School.


Thesis subject: “Revisiting Liminality in Consumer Research: Pursuing Liquid Lifestyles in the Marketplace”

Thesis Supervisor: Tina Lowrey

Abstract: Consumer liminality is a vital concept in marketing research, usually defined as a transitional state of betwixt and between social positions. It enlightens life transitions, extraordinary experiences, and consumption rituals. This dissertation assesses the conceptualization of consumer liminality and advances its theorization in liquid modernity by exploring contemporary consumer lifestyles, which embrace contingency, uncertainty, and ambiguity. The first essay conceptually reexamines the treatment of liminality in consumer research. I identify two distinct forms, transformational liminality and liminoidity, thus challenging the unidimensionality assumption. Countering its celebratory treatment, I highlight the dangers of liminality when it is part of a meaningless transition. This essay contributes to the literature by resolving definitional ambiguities, outlining the concept’s scope, and delineating research directions. The second essay explores the flexible consumer lifestyle, defined as purposefully embracing instability, change, and adaptability in every aspect of life through professional precariousness. With long interviews, projective techniques, and participant observation, I question how the frequent life transitions of the flexible lifestyle, which can be analyzed as an experience of permanent liminality, are handled by consumers. Departing from prior literature, I contribute to consumer research on liminality by illustrating that permanent liminality is unsustainable for individuals, who need a release from the overwhelming pressures of its pursuit. I also identify flexibility capital which enables consumers to be comfortable on the long-term with high degrees of change and uncertainty and thus, to create an escape from the social structure which otherwise compels them to dominated positions. The third essay studies the liminal consumer journeys of consumers who experience repeated cross-cultural transitions. I combine autodriving and long interviews to explore open-ended mobility, a type of international mobility characterized by a high uncertainty regarding the duration of the stay abroad and the next destination. This essay contributes by emphasizing liminal dangers. I identify that liminal consumer journeys put consumers at risk of rootlessness and self-loss and must be compensated by solidifying consumption, which anchors consumers’ identity narratives in crystallized consumption experiences, material objects, and symbolic brands.