Multifaceted Appearance Management as Cultural Practice

Yoo Jin Kwon, Kyoung-Nan Kwon


Appearance management is a self-identification process that extends beyond mere appearance enhancement activities. In this study, we conceptualized multifaceted appearance management as a cultural practice imbued with a variety of meanings and goals. We employed mixed methods. The quantitative study was to objectify and explain a macro trend by analyzing large-scale data collected from a representative sample and revealed that multifaceted appearance management is a function of cultural capital. The qualitative study was to gain a better understanding of how individual actions and meanings that occur during appearance management create social distinction by analyzing in-depth interviews and demonstrated how the complexity and diversity of meanings reflect the self-identification process in appearance consumption. Our findings revealed that a tendency toward multifaceted appearance management is related to contextual self-presentation drawing upon cultural capital and that cultural capital is manifested by the process in which consumption becomes integrated into self-identification.

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Review of European Studies   ISSN 1918-7173 (Print)   ISSN 1918-7181 (Online)

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