The purposes of this study were to identify and categorize the discursive practices through which consumers negotiate a lifestyle-related identity in online lifestyle consumption communities. The empirical case is a very active community of consumers who adhere to the low-carb/high-fat diet. The paper contributes to communal consumption literature by showing how a lifestyle identity and the community evolve together. Focusing on an online community with lifestyle focus differentiates this study from previous research because nutritional choices influence the consumers' everyday life in a comprehensive manner. By employing a netnographic analysis on discussion board messages, 11 discursive practices are identified. These practices are categorized according to confirming/challenging and self-directed/community-directed dimensions. The paper provides a typology of online community dynamics, emphasizing the importance of challenging practices for community development. It also has important implications for companies who wish to understand food lifestyles and develop online platforms for their customers.
Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.