Search Conferences

Type in any word, words or author name. This searchs through the abstract title, keywords and abstract text and authors. You may search all conferences or just select one conference.

 All Conferences
 EMAC 2019 Annual Conference
 EMAC 2020 Annual Conference
 EMAC 2020 Regional Conference
 EMAC 2021 Annual Conference
 EMAC 2021 Regional Conference
 EMAC 2022 Annual
 EMAC 2022 Regional Conference
 EMAC 2023 Annual
 EMAC 2023 Regional Conference

EMAC 2023 Annual

Liminality in Conspicuous Consumption: The Curious Case of 'PC Master Race'

Published: May 24, 2023


Denis Utochkin, Norwegian School of Economics


This paper explores the development of collective identity of an online forum of PC gaming enthusiasts ‘PCMR’ on Reddit. Emerging in 2011 as a fringe group within the larger gaming subculture, PCMR grew to be the largest gaming platform-specific consumer collective on the Internet. Through a netnographic study and automated analysis of 27.5 mil. postings and 226k images, I demonstrate how this process was associated with a transition from mechanical solidarity to a state of communitas. I find that the liminal nature of the PC gaming hobby, which is associated with ambiguities and anxieties absent from experiences of consumers whose platform of choice is a major game console, was integral to this transition and corresponding decrease in oppositional brand loyalty. Findings provide evidence that liminality, which has often been seen in a negative light in prior consumption-oriented studies, may enhance consumer experiences, produce intense collective joy, reduce intergroup conflict.