Dr. Stephen Murphy

Dr. Stephen Murphy

Assistant Professor, Trinity Business School


Stephen graduated with a PhD in Marketing from the University of Limerick. He taught critical perspectives on marketing and consumer behaviour at the University of Essex between 2016 and 2020. Stephen Murphy is a consumer researcher whose research examines the interface between technology and embodiment to understand how consumer identities are shaped by marketplace interactions. These interests have led to ethnographic studies of various consumer groups including craftworkers, conspiracy theorists, and motorcycle enthusiasts. His research has been published in European Journal of Marketing, Marketing Theory, Journal of Marketing Management and Industrial Marketing Management. Stephen's research has also featured in popular outlets such as The Irish Times, RTE, BBC, The Telegraph, The Sunday Business Post, The Conversation, The Metro, and Sky News. Stephen is a member of the Consumer Culture Theory Consortium, Academy of Marketing and a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority. His research has received numerous awards at leading international conferences. Stephen currently serves as External Examiner at the University of Bath.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

  • Murphy, S., Patterson, M., O'Malley, L, Learning How: Body techniques and the consumption of experience, Marketing Theory , 2019Journal Article, 2019, TARA - Full Text
  • O'Leary, K., Murphy, S., Moving beyond Goffman: The performativity of anonymity on social networking sites, European Journal of Marketing, 2019, p83-107Journal Article, 2019, TARA - Full Text
  • O'Malley, L., O'Dwyer, M., McNally, R. C., and Murphy, S, Identity, collaboration and radical innovation: The role of dual organisation identification, Industrial Marketing Management, 2014, p1335-1342Journal Article, 2014, TARA - Full Text
  • Murphy, S. and M. Patterson, Motorcycling Edgework: A Practice Theory Perspective, Journal of Marketing Management, 2011, p1322-1340Journal Article, 2011, TARA - Full Text
  • O'Dwyer, M., O'Malley, L., Murphy, S., & McNally, R. C, Insights into the creation of a successful MNE innovation cluster, Competitiveness Review, 2015, p288-309Journal Article, 2015, TARA - Full Text
  • Murphy, S. and M Patterson, Elucidating a Theory of Practice for Consumer Research, European Advances in Consumer Research Conference, 2013Journal Article, 2013, TARA - Full Text
  • Murphy, S, Assembling Embodiment: Body, Techniques and Things, Advances in Consumer Research , 48, 2020, p1112 - 1117Journal Article, 2020, TARA - Full Text
  • Murphy, S, He's got the touch': Tracing the masculine regulation of the body schema in reciprocal relations between 'self-others-things', Marketing Theory , 1, 2022, p21 - 40Journal Article, 2022, URL , TARA - Full Text
  • Cirella, S. & Murphy, S., Exploring intermediary practices of collaboration in university- industry innovation: A practice theory approach, Creativity and Innovation Management , 2022, p1 - 18Journal Article, 2022, DOI , URL , TARA - Full Text
  • Stephen Murphy, Tim Hill, Pierre McDonagh, Amanda Flaherty, Mundane emotions: Losing yourself in boredom, time and technology, Marketing Theory, 2023Journal Article, 2023, TARA - Full Text

Research Expertise

  • Title
    'Do Your Own Research': How and when conspiracy theories resonate
    How and when do people become conspiracy theorists? Answers to this question vary by discipline and include explanations made at both individual and societal levels of analysis. Recently, the concept of 'resonance' has been put forward as a means to unite these levels of analysis. Resonance describes how individuals can experience conspiracy theories as 'awakening moments', particularly when these alternative claims to truth enable social groups to handle social problems and grievances. To date, however, studies have not explained the processes and contextual conditions by which experiences of resonance occur. Drawing on data from an extended ethnographic study of the British 'truth seeker' movement, this study examines the specific contexts in which persons, situations and cultural objects combine to create resonance. We show that people's initial receptivity to conspiracy theories is primed by moral emotions, which include feelings of indignations, contempt and resentment. Next, we demonstrate how 'awakenings' are sparked by interactive situations where people work together to solve shared problems. Finally, we explain how the participatory qualities of conspiracy theories sustain lasting transformation in worldviews. This research shows that in the myriad of activities involved in 'doing your own research' the truth seeker subjectivity is created and maintained.
    Date From
  • Title
    "Making something from nothing": Phenomenological insights into handling craftwork from home
    How are craftworkers lives influenced by the demands and expectations of working from home? And how are craft workers' identities enacted to demonstrate an ability to cope with these additional home-based demands? This study brings a phenomenological perspective on home and situated experience to bear on a combination of ethnographic material and interview data collected over a three-year period with female craftworkers in Ireland and the UK. This research shows that while craftwork presents consumers with opportunities to pursue creative work, doing so from the home, also means coping with additional risks, responsibilities, and expectations. In contributing to the growing interest in the contemporary craft revival, this research shows that where craft happens matters to how it is experienced, and that the pursuit of craftwork is compelled and constrained by a range of social, cultural, and economic demands.
    Funding Agency
    Dublin City Council
    Date From
  • Title
    Mundane Emotions: Losing Yourself in Boredom, Time, and Technology
    Much marketing and consumer research has drawn attention to the positive and joyful emotional feature of consumer tribes. However, research has little to say on boredom, an emotional state prevalent in consumers' lives that was exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic due to lockdown restrictions. Informed by Heidegger's understanding of boredom as a fundamental mood tied to temporality, this research uses semi-structured interviews to identify two kinds of boredom - superficial and profound boredom - and their specific temporal dynamics. Superficial boredom is common, and refers to a situational restlessness in which people desire distractions. In contrast, profound boredom refers to an existential discomfort in which people struggle with a sense of self, but ultimately can result in authentic self-disclosure. We explain superficial boredom as a symptom of a dominant capitalist temporal regime that comprise connectivity and acceleration. Together these temporal logics fragment and compress time in ways that encourage mundane social media consumption that simply fills time. We also explain how profound boredom stems from an abundance of uninterrupted time spent in relative solitude. We highlight two paradoxes. On the one hand, social media consumption exploits superficial boredom and at the same time suppresses the time and opportunity for its overcoming. On the other hand, it is the depths of distress within profound boredom that reveals possibilities for authentic self-disclosure. In providing a theory of boredom, our research contributes to consumer research's understanding of mundane emotions, and the organisation of time in contemporary consumer society.
    Date From

Economics, Business & Management, Economics, Business & Management,


  • Performance Excellence Award 2022
  • TBS Excellence in Teaching Award 2021
  • TBS Excellence in Teaching Award 2023
  • Academy of Marketing
  • Consumer Culture Theory Consortium
  • Fellowship of The Higher Education Academy
  • Reviewer for Consumer Culture Theory Conference
  • External Examiner University of Bath
  • External Research Supervisor University of Essex
  • Reviewer for Marketing Theory 2019