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A categorization approach to analyzing the global consumer culture debate

Michael A. Merz (Department of Marketing, Shidler College of Business, University of Hawai'i, Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA)
Yi He (Department of Marketing, Shidler College of Business, University of Hawai'i, Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA)
Dana L. Alden (Shidler College of Business, University of Hawai'i, Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 25 April 2008

Abstract

Purpose

Given the ongoing globalization debate and lack of agreement about whether consumer cultures are predominantly globalizing, glocalizing, or localizing, the purpose of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework designed to help clarify discussion and facilitate theoretical progress.

Design/methodology/approach

By integrating Rosch's categorization theory into the discussion of whether consumer cultures globalize, glocalize, or localize, several propositions can be formulated that help structure this discussion systematically.

Findings

It is demonstrated that arguments for global consumer culture (GCC) are most easily made at the superordinate level. However, their strength (versus glocal and local consumer culture) at the basic and subordinate levels is moderated by whether meanings associated with the consumption factor are primarily functional or symbolic.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should empirically validate this initial effort. In addition, scholars should examine from a non‐western centric perspective whether GCC is emerging across the different category levels and meaning systems. Furthermore, emic research is needed to examine the emic meanings of the categories herein.

Practical implications

This proposed framework is also designed for marketing managers as a new tool to facilitate their global strategic planning.

Originality/value

This paper moves the GCC culture debate forward by integrating, for the first time, categorization theory into the discussion. This is of value for both academics and practitioners.

Keywords

Citation

Merz, M.A., He, Y. and Alden, D.L. (2008), "A categorization approach to analyzing the global consumer culture debate", International Marketing Review, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 166-182. https://doi.org/10.1108/02651330810866263

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited