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Journal Article

Place Attachment in Commercial Settings: A Gift Economy Perspective

Alain Debenedetti, Harmen Oppewal and Zeynep Arsel
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 40, No. 5 (February 2014), pp. 904-923
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/673469
Stable URL:
Page Count: 20
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Place Attachment in Commercial Settings: A Gift Economy Perspective
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Place attachment is one’s strong emotional bond with a specific location. While there are numerous studies on the topic, the literature pays little attention to commercial settings. This is because they are seen as too insipid to rouse attachment. Consumer research, however, suggests otherwise. To address this disparity, the authors investigate how people develop, experience, and act on place attachment in commercial settings. Findings from consumer in-depth interviews and self-reports conducted in France reveal that place attachment develops through perceptions of familiarity, authenticity, and security and evolves into experiences of homeyness. Consumers find these encounters of homeyness extraordinary and respond by engaging in volunteering, over-reciprocation, and ambassadorship toward the place. The authors further theorize these findings through a gift economy perspective and identify a tripartite exchange between the consumer, the proprietor of the place, and selected people from the consumer’s social network.

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