consumer culture and consumer society meri ts further investigation. At the center of this problem is that consumption is tangled up in the politics of class in some troubling ways. Thompson, Craig J. ], Eric J. Arnould, Craig J. Thompson, Consumer Culture Theory (CCT): Twenty Years of Research, Journal of Consumer Research, Volume 31, Issue 4, March 2005, Pages 868–882, 19, ed. (1959), “Symbols for Sale,” Harvard Business Review, 37 (July–August), 117–24. Studies operating in this research domain frequently draw from semiotic and literary critical theories to analyze the symbolic meanings, cultural ideals, and ideological inducements encoded in popular culture texts and the rhetorical tactics that are used to make these ideological appeals compelling (Escalas and Stern 2003; Hirschman 1988, 1990; Holbrook and Grayson 1986; McQuarrie and Mick 1996; Mick 1986; Sherry and Camargo 1987; Stern 1993, 1995, 1996). To address this problematic, consumer culture theorists investigate the processes by which consumption choices and behaviors are shaped by social class hierarchies (Allen 2002; Holt 1997, 1998; Wallendorf 2001); gender (Bristor and Fischer 1993; Dobscha and Ozanne 2001; Fischer and Arnold 1990; Thompson 1996; Thompson and Haytko 1997; Thompson, Locander, and Pollio 1990); ethnicity (Belk 1992; Mehta and Belk 1991; Reilly and Wallendorf 1987; Wallendorf and Reilly 1983); and families, households, and other formal groups (Moore-Shay, Wilkie, and Lutz 2002; Wallendorf and Arnould 1991; Ward and Reingen 1990). Vargo, Stephen L. and Robert F. Lusch (2004), “Evolving toward a New Dominant Logic for Marketing,” Journal of Marketing, 68 (January), 1–17. Such research has examined North American (McCracken 1986; Witkowski 1989), African (Arnould 1989; Bonsu and Belk 2003), Asian (Applbaum and Jordt 1996; Joy 2001; Tse, Belk, and Zhou 1989), and eastern European contexts (Coulter et al. ——— (1988), “Possessions and the Extended Self,” Journal of Consumer Research, 15 (September), 139–68. The exception is the last chapter, which is a meta-analysis of the effects of consumer knowledge on information search. The caveat must, however, be added that expenditure on residences may stimulate purchasing of such household items as furniture and whiteware. The study of marketplace cultures addresses some of the most distinctive features of the marketplace-culture intersection. Maffesoli, Michel (1996), The Time of Tribes, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. cultivating specific gaits or accents) and biological processes (such as ageing) (Shilling 1993). Wright, Peter (2002), “Marketplace Metacognition and Social Intelligence,” Journal of Consumer Research, 28 (March), 677–82. (2003), Time, Space, and the Market: Retroscapes Rising, London: M. E. Sharpe. 2002; Peñaloza 2000, 2001; Price and Arnould 1999; Price, Arnould, and Tierney 1995; Sherry 1990, 1998; Sherry and McGrath 1989). Consumer culture is a system in which consumption, a set of behaviors found in all times and places, is dominated by the consumption of commercial products. Perhaps most important, CCT conceptualizes culture as the very fabric of experience, meaning, and action (Geertz 1983). The new cultural intermediaries have been in part responsible for the ‘democratization of bohemia,’ for feeding transgressive bohemian themes and images of the sexualized or fantasy city back into everyday consumer culture (Pels and Crebas 1987, Wilson 1998). Sherry, John F. and Eduardo Camargo (1987), “‘May Your Life Be Marvelous’: English Language Labeling and the Semiotics of Japanese Promotion,” Journal of Consumer Research, 14 (September), 174–88. Kim Corfman and John Lynch, Association for Consumer Research, Provo, UT: 1–5. In contrast to classic sociological accounts of subculture, in-group social status in these settings is achieved not through adherence to monolithic consumption norms but through displays of localized cultural capital (particular forms of knowledge and skills valued in the group) and skill in combining, reworking, and innovating the pool of symbolic resources that are shared by group members (see Belk and Costa 1998; Celsi et al. Girls of the early twentieth century internalized this social anxiety along with their adolescent physical anxieties. These studies highlight how servicescapes transform cultural ideals into material realities and, furthermore, how treasured cultural narratives, such as Wild West mythologies, tales of athletic achievement, or romantic narratives of revitalization through nature, are reworked to serve commercial aims and to channel consumer experiences in certain trajectories (Arnould and Price 1993; Joy and Sherry 2003; Peñaloza 2001; Sherry 1998). Consumer culture theory is fulfilling the recurrent calls of consumer research's thought leaders for a distinctive body of theoretical knowledge about consumption and marketplace behaviors. Kozinets, Robert V., John Sherry Jr., Diana Storm, Adam Duhachek, Krittinee Nuttavuthist, and Benet DeBerry-Spence (2004), “Ludic Agency and Retail Spectacle,” Journal of Consumer Research, 31 (December), 658–72. In this way, consumer research threatens to become a tower of Babel. Hetrick, William P. and Héctor R. Lozada (1994), “Construing the Critical Imagination: Comments and Necessary Diversions,” Journal of Consumer Research, 21 (December), 548–58. The rise of consumer culture in the West has generated a fascination with the representation, maintenance and performance of the body, encouraging individuals to strive to achieve a certain sort of appearance and to control their visual image (Featherstone 1991). A more appropriate and compelling academic brand would focus on the core theoretical interests and questions that define this research tradition. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. First, consumer culture is about consumption. Hannerz, Ulf (1992), Cultural Complexity, New York: Columbia University Press. Gould, Stephen J. Images of the Gibson Girl, the ‘New Woman’, and later the flapper appeared everywhere from magazine covers to movie screens to collectible prints, plates, and other memorabilia. ——— (1992), “The Consciousness of Addiction: Toward a General Theory of Compulsive Consumption,” Journal of Consumer Research, 19 (September), 155–79. McCracken, Grant (1986), “Culture and Consumption: A Theoretical Account of the Structure and Movement of the Cultural Meaning of Consumer Goods,” Journal of Consumer Research, 13 (June), 71–84. Belk, Russell W. and Gregory S. Coon (1993), “Gift Giving as Agapic Love: An Alternative to the Exchange Paradigm Based on Dating Experiences,” Journal of Consumer Research, 20 (December), 393–417. One specific form of this research that we would like to encourage strives to tell cultural history through the commodity form (broadly defined). In contradistinction to this angst-inducing allegory, we suggest that the field is enhanced by the presence of multiple conversations. Unquestionably, qualitative data and an array of related data collection and analysis techniques have been quite central to CCT (Arnould and Wallendorf 1994; Belk, Sherry, and Wallendorf 1988; Kozinets 2002; Mick 1986; Murray and Ozanne 1991; Spiggle 1994; Thompson, Locander, and Pollio 1989). 2003; Wilk 1995). Rather than replicate prior efforts, we provide a thematic framework that profiles four major interrelated research domains that are explored by CCT researchers. Still, for purposes of analytic exposition, it is possible to distinguish among the kinds of issues that fall under each and to identify studies that bring these respective theoretical issues to the theoretical foreground. 16, ed. Fischer, Eileen and Stephen J. Arnold (1990), “More than a Labor of Love: Gender Roles and Christmas Gift Shopping,” Journal of Consumer Research, 17 (December), 333–45. Consumer identity projects are typically considered to be goal driven (Mick and Buhl 1992; Schau and Gilly 2003), although the aims pursued may often be tacit in nature (and vaguely understood; see Arnould and Price 1993; Thompson and Tambyah 1999) and marked by points of conflict, internal contradictions, ambivalence, and even pathology (Hirschman 1992; Mick and Fournier 1998; Murray 2002; O'Guinn and Faber 1989; Otnes et al. Within the realm of these leisure activities, visual depictions of the female body abounded. Holbrook, Morris B. Muñiz, Albert and Thomas C. O'Guinn (2000), “Brand Communities,” Journal of Consumer Research, 27 (March), 412–32. How should their bodies appear? In his study of consumer culture in France, Pierre Bourdieu found that consumer habits tend to reflect the amount of cultural and educational capital one has and also the economic class position of one’s family. Arnould, Eric J. and Linda L. Price (1993), “River Magic: Extraordinary Experience and the Extended Service Encounter,” Journal of Consumer Research, 20 (June), 24–45. Rook, Dennis W. (1985), “The Ritual Dimension of Consumer Behavior,” Journal of Consumer Research, 12 (December), 251–64. South American nationality is often expressed through public performances as crystalizations of ‘authentic’ local-level or regional cultures. The doctrine of mestizaje serves these interests in the sense that the identity of mestizo underscores the processes of social whitening (blanqueamiento). Patterson, Maggie Jones, Ronald Paul Hill, and Kate Malloy (1995), “Abortion in America: A Consumer-Behavior Perspective,” Journal of Consumer Research, 21 (March), 677–94. As Sherry and Schouten discuss (2002, 221), researchers working in this research tradition have a pronounced preoccupation with methodological issues of validity, voice, reflectivity, and representation. 2002; Muñiz and O'Guinn 2000), consumer lifestyles (Holt 1997; Thompson 1996), retail experiences (Kozinets et al. Thorbjørn Knudsen, Søren Askegaard, and Niels Jørgensen, Copenhagen: Thomson, 13–35. Yet, consumer culture seeks to market the risk and adventure too, both directly, through the ‘ultimate experience’ of high risk sports, such as paying large sums of money to be guided to the top of Mt. Consumer culture theory has its historical roots in calls for consumer researchers to broaden their focus to investigate the neglected experiential, social, and cultural dimensions of consumption in context (Belk 1987a, 1987b; Holbrook and Hirschman 1982). Yet many of the sites become enriched with representations, with attention given to the décor and the setting to the extent that the act of purchase becomes an experience or that what one purchases or seeks out is an experience. In consumer culture the body is construed as a project to be worked at, to be continually acted upon and altered: shaped by actions (e.g. Films created and kept up with social trends. Schroeder, Jonathan E. and Janet L. Borgerson (1998), “Marketing Images of Gender: A Visual Analysis,” Consumption, Markets, and Culture, 2 (2), 161–201. Murray, Jeff B. and Julie L. Ozanne (1991), “The Critical Imagination: Emancipatory Interests in Consumer Research,” Journal of Consumer Research, 18 (September), 129–44. McAlexander, James H., John W. Schouten, and Harold Koenig (2002), “Building Brand Community,” Journal of Marketing, 66 (January), 38–54. (1994), “Academic Appalachia and the Discipline of Consumer Research,” in Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. Public displays of collective selfhood by indigenous people tap significant financial resources through Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) of Europe and North America, giving such social formations and movements a new articulation to economic resources. Thompson, Craig J., William B. Locander, and Howard R. Pollio (1989), “Putting Consumer Experience Back into Consumer Research: The Philosophy and Method of Existential-Phenomenology,” Journal of Consumer Research, 16 (September), 133–46. ——— (1981), “Interpreting Consumer Mythology: A Structural Approach to Consumer Behavior,” Journal of Marketing, 45 (Summer), 49–61. Thus, the field, rather than the laboratory, became the natural context for CCT. Just as a store layout can direct consumers' physical movements through retail space, servicescapes have a narrative design that also directs the course of consumers' mental attention, experiences, and related practices of self-narration. If such barriers can be overcome it will facilitate specialisation in agricultural production which itself partially reflects diversification of taste in foodstuffs, especially in the cities, since, with rising income, the role of grain in the diet has decreased, and there is also a greater consciousness of food quality and safety (Zhang, 2012). Hirschman, Elizabeth C. and Morris Holbrook (1982), “Hedonic Consumption: Emerging Concepts, Methods, and Propositions, Journal of Marketing, 46 (Summer), 92–101. For example, indigenous people of Andean Ecuador have long performed individualized constructions of the European festival of Corpus Christi. Sheth, Jagdish N. (1985), “Presidential Address: Broadening the Horizons of ACR and Consumer Research,” in Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. The phenomenal growth of advertising in the twentieth century helped usher in and sustain a defining consumer culture. 2003; Celsi et al. Buying a birthday present or gifts on holiday takes different types of judgment about price, taste, and aesthetics than the weekly supermarket visit or the purchase of a utility such as a washing machine. Heisley, Deborah D. and Sidney J. (1987), “What Is Consumer Research?” Journal of Consumer Research, 14 (June), 128–32. They work parasitically off the theme park, heritage park, and movie set design skills in constructing or reconstructing another world. After the economic reform, Chinese social and economic changes, such as the emerging of middle class (M Class), the enlarging gaps in income among people, the influence of foreign cultures, make Chinese consumer behavior diversified. The first instinct of writers on non-Western consumer culture was to emphasize the imperialistic nature of Western consumption habits. Given this commitment to multimethod investigations of consumption phenomena in natural settings, it is ironic that CCT research is misperceived in some disciplinary quarters as a sphere of creative expression, voyeurism, entertaining esoterica, and sonorous introspection of limited relevance to consumer research's broader theoretical projects or the pragmatic interests of managers and policy makers. Research shows that having intrinsic goals and values is valuable to personal well-being. In fact, the effects of advertising run the gamut from obvious to perplexing and contradictory. Families, schools, and youth organizations all promote collecting as an activity that nourishes desirable habits in children, including selectivity, categorization, acquisition of knowledge, competition, specialization, and focused goal-directed activity. While the priority of increasingly moving from labour-intensive manufacturing towards more high-tech value-added industries and innovation will impact most upon the cities, particularly those on the southeastern seaboard, the task of reducing the urban−rural divide necessitates also rebalancing of the economy in the countryside, in the interests of maintaining social stability. Again there are exceptions, but just as other consumer luxury goods act as “marker goods” announcing social class (Douglas and Isherwood, 1979), so do collections. These concerns follow from a decidedly modernist construction of science and the concomitant idea that a scientific field progresses by developing a unified system of knowledge around a common domain of interest (e.g., Hunt 1991). Urban markets and print culture flourished as early as the Tokugawa period in spite of sumptuary laws (ended only in 1868) that prescripted behaviors on everything from the size and location of residence to style of headgear and footwear. Scott, Linda M. (1990), “Understanding Jingles and Needledrop: A Rhetorical Approach to Music in Advertising,” Journal of Consumer Research, 17 (September), 223–36. We propose that CCT has fulfilled recurrent calls for developing a distinctive body of theoretical knowledge about consumption and marketplace behaviors. For people of indigenous and Afro-Latin American descent, and for others classed by the elite as ‘mestizos,’ modernity consists of passing back and forth among different systems of thought and behavior. Consumer culture theory examines consumer ideology—systems of meaning that tend to channel and reproduce consumers' thoughts and actions in such a way as to defend dominate interests in society (Hirschman 1993). The logic here is more one of seeking to provide mass customization than mass consumption. This methodological predilection follows from the aims that drive CCT rather than from a passion for qualitative data or vivid description per se. Owing to its internal, fragmented complexity, consumer culture does not determine action as a causal force. 6, ed. O'Guinn, Thomas C. and Ronald J. Faber (1989), “Compulsive Buying: A Phenomenological Exploration,” Journal of Consumer Research, 16 (September), 147–57. Holbrook, Morris B. and Elizabeth C. Hirschman (1982), “The Experiential Aspects of Consumption: Consumer, Fantasies, Feelings, and Fun,” Journal of Consumer Research, 9 (September), 132–40. Such a disciplinary situation may not always be comfortable or comforting, but it can be energizing, thought provoking, and inspiring, and it can provide a fertile intellectual ground for theoretical innovations and advancements. Moore, Elizabeth S. and Richard J. Lutz (2000), “Children, Advertising, and Product Experience: A Multimethod Inquiry,” Journal of Consumer Research, 27 (June), 31–48. There have nevertheless been barriers to an increase in individual spending power, among them domestic interest rates, a high rate of personal savings and an as yet nascent social security system. Yet this involves a highly differentiated set of practices with the rhythms of the day, the week, the year pulling different spaces of consumption into view. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide, This PDF is available to Subscribers Only. Eric J. Arnould is E. J. Faulkner Professor of Marketing and Director CBA Agribusiness Programs, 310 C CBA, Department of Marketing, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, NE 68588-0492, e-mail ( The male dominance that begins in adolescence in many collecting areas may be because men continue to control more financial resources (Rigby and Rigby, 1944), because it allows men to exercise creative potential that women can express more broadly, including via childbirth (Baekeland, 1981), or because it is an aggressive and competitive activity that corresponds more closely with male gender role socialization (Belk and Wallendorf, 1997). The movies allowed girl viewers to participate in a modern fantasy, without breaking social norms. Through retextualization, CCT research has reframed and revitalized core analytic constructs, such as brand loyalty (Fournier 1998, McAlexander et al. Mike Featherstone, London: Sage, 295–310. Schau, Hope Jensen and Mary C. Gilly (2003), “We Are What We Post? Rather, it refers to a family of theoretical perspectives that address the dynamic relationships between consumer actions, the marketplace, and cultural meanings. It draws on a wide range of representations to construct a culture around material goods, weaving a range of imagery and sign play to make commodities more enticing and exciting (advertising in its various forms being the key here) and provides a whole range of publicity material to educate consumers into enjoying new tastes. Allen (2002) shows how working-class consumer choices are molded by tacit cultural capital endowments into which they have been socialized and that systematically thwart their explicit social mobility goals. Used to describe the “sociocultural, experiential, symbolic, and ideological aspects of consumption” (Arnould & Thompson, 2005, p. 868), consumer culture theory acknowledges the core theoretical assumptions within this plethora of research. Black selfhood, however, does not attract significant financial resources. Borgmann, Albert (2000), “The Moral Complexion of Consumption,” Journal of Consumer Research 26 (March), 418–22. In recent decades China’s consumer culture has emerged in the context of the country’s growing foreign trade and domestic inward investment. Such a consumer-centric theory would investigate how customers allocate economic, social, and cultural capital resources between competing brand and service offerings and use them to enrich their endowments. This shift from internal to external emphasis along with the new modern aesthetic served to further separate girls of the early twentieth century from their mothers’ generation. This ubiquity has its effects. ——— (2004), “Culture, Consumption, and Marketing: Retrospect and Prospect,” in Elusive Consumption, ed. 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Sharpe Bow and Joan Meyers-Levy, Provo, UT: Association Consumer! And Harold H. Kassarjian, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice hall Stuart... Countries to export their products, Consumer culture is closely to tied,. Impact on Consumer attitudes, behaviors and purchasing habits, however, be added that on. Center of this problem is that consumption is tangled up in the fervor of those debates such! Examples of Consumer culture thereby perpetuated if not aggravated, semicolonial dependency, Juliet ( 1998 ) the American! Theory, nor does it canonize a qualitative-quantitative divide some places,.! Relevance were sometimes misconstrued as a renunciation of managerial relevance caveat must, however these... 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Do Brands Cause Trouble New phenomenon arose that the modern Consumer culture (... From Burning Man ” Journal of Consumer Research, 5–10 or accents ) biological. Care much about ads russell W. Belk and Janeen Costa, Greenwich, CT: JAI, 153–84 from Man... Like UK will be completely different then a developing nation, Michael ( 2003 ), a consumers:. Countries to export their products, Consumer lifestyles ( Holt 1997 ; Thompson 1996,!