This study explores how a platform enables social media influencers to promulgate a consumption ideology. We show how gun influencers, or “gunfluencers,” use Instagram to link products, activities, and meanings to Second Amendment ideology – a gun-centric belief system in the United States colloquially known as “2A ideology.” Through a qualitative study of 25 Instagram gunfluencers, we identify a process of curating a consumption ideology wherein social media influencers employ four curatorial tactics: glamourizing, demystifying, victimizing, and tribalizing. Findings suggest gunfluencers extend audiences and leverage algorithms to prescribe and model how supporters of 2A ideology should look, act, speak, feel, and consume. Our research contributes to understanding how consumption ideologies are promulgated in a digital, platformized world. In the context of U.S. gun culture, implications address the role of platformization in supporting gun companies’ promotional efforts, despite government- and platform-based restrictions, and the political dimensions of influencer and consumer cultures.
Drenten, Jenna, Lauren Gurrieri, Aimee Duff, and Michelle Barnhart (2023), “Curating a Consumption Ideology: Platformization and Gun Influencers on Instagram,” Marketing Theory, https://doi.org/10.1177/14705931231207329.
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