Consumers’ interplays between solidity and liquidity in life: Insights from tattoo consumption

Chloe Steadman, Emma Banister, Dominic Medway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper builds on growing research in marketing around liquid consumption. Drawing on 31 biographical-style interviews with 18 tattoo consumers, we reveal how individuals’ interplays between ‘solidity’ and ‘liquidity’ experienced in life–from homelessness to heartbreak–can be navigated and represented through tattoo consumption practices. Given much liquid consumption research is conceptual, a key contribution lies in providing detailed empirical insights into how consumers negotiate perceived solidity and liquidity at the scale of their wider lived experiences through consumption practices. In doing so, the paper moves beyond understandings of a linear shift from solidity to more liquid experiences—or vice versa—by revealing consumers’ dynamic negotiations between the two. Our findings also unsettle the typical conceptualisation of tattoos as a solid marketplace offering by demonstrating how tattoos can also encompass more liquid features. Finally, implications for businesses and marketers operating within liquid consumer society are provided.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113968
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date27 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


  • consumer culture
  • liquid consumption
  • liquid modernity
  • solid
  • tattoos
  • the body


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