Breaking away from inferiority: the strive for legitimacy in postcolonial service encounters

AZIKIWE, Evelyn (2020). Breaking away from inferiority: the strive for legitimacy in postcolonial service encounters. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This study examines how service worker identity is mediated through global cultural flows and the consumption practices of elite clients within beauty stores in Nigeria. With a social constructionist approach and Foucault’s theoretical perspectives on power, subject and technologies of the self, I used qualitative methods involving fieldwork such as participant observation and interviews for the data collection. The findings of the study expose how inequalities that go deeper than differences in wealth and economic status shape the experiences and subject positions taken by the service workers in this context; symbolic meanings and values attached to global brands are embedded within socio-historical discourses and class differentiations; lastly, stigma is found to be a significant driver of behaviour as the workers collectively and consistently express a deep sense of inferiority in relation to their client's status, as well as relaying stories of struggle and striving for their acceptance. Thus, in seeking to manage these social asymmetries, western brands are used to mask the perceived subjugated identities experienced by the workers. The findings extend Fanon’s and Spivak’s postcolonial theoretical perspectives by examining how workers' identities are transformed through the internalization of inferiority within the context of beauty salons in Nigeria. Also, it enhances the overall theoretical perspectives of brands in the marketplace, especially in postcolonial settings like Nigeria. The implication of this study provides more insights into the socio-cultural context of global brands, which offers new business opportunities for emerging markets such as Nigeria. This is relevant because the success of most big firms from developed economies within the emerging markets is crucial, particularly as they are already operating in a saturated business environment.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Hirst, Craig [0000-0001-9684-3659]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr. Craig Hirst
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2021 16:37
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:04

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