Date of Award

5-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Communication and Information

Major Professor

Eric Haley

Committee Members

Ron Taylor, Margaret Morrison, Dan Flint

Abstract

A phenomenology study reveals the lived meanings of product placement in social network sites (SNSs) among Chinese urban, white-collar professional users through an investigation of a newly launched SNS, Happy Network. In total, 25 face-to-face, in-depth interviews were conducted to collect data. Findings indicated that participants’ interpretations of product placement were interrelated with the socially constructed meanings of the SNS, participants’ social role of white-collar professionals, and the consumer culture of contemporary Chinese society. In particular, the emerged themes with regard to the shared meanings of the SNS include five dialectic relations: in control/controlled by, dependent/independent, public/private, intimate/distant, and personal/social. Meanwhile, the socially constructed meanings of product placement in the context of SNS are justifying the existence, connecting to the real world, noticing the familiar, insinuating brand image, and linking to consumption.

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