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Global cities and cultural experimentation: cosmopolitan-local connections

Pilar Rojas Gaviria (Department of Marketing, Esan Graduate School of Business, Lima, Peru)
Julie Emontspool (Department of Marketing and Management, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 13 April 2015




Studying the cultural dynamics of expatriate amateur theater in Brussels, the purpose of this paper is to investigate multicultural marketplace development in global cities.


The paper performs an interpretive analysis of the expatriate amateur scene from an ethnographic perspective, combining observations of rehearsals and performances, in-depth interviews with actors, directors and audience, and secondary data.


The fluidity of global cities allows their inhabitants to engage in creative processes of cultural experimentation, performing a continuous back-and-forth movement between hybridization and pluralization. The former creates enough homogeneity for the expatriates to feel targeted; the latter ensures a level of cultural diversity necessary to satisfy their cosmopolitan aspirations.

Practical implications

The paper points to the important role of global cities for cultural experimentation. Such cities are not only an interesting market for culturally diverse products, but also experimental hubs. Managers willing to address multicultural marketplaces might target these markets with dynamic cultural offers that ensure a balance between rendering a product globally appreciated and recognizable, and maintaining a cosmopolitan appeal for consumers in search of diversity.


Drawing on global cities as markets in continuous reconstruction and subject to cultural experimentation, the paper turns the attention of the research community to the collective, reflexive, and experimental aspects of symbolic consumption. It shows how arts and cultural products represent valuable contexts for international marketing research, providing original insights into market dynamics and cultural experimentation.



The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewers as well as the guest editor for this issue, Dr Catherine Demangeot, for their valuable comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this manuscript. The authors are also very grateful to Thomas Derek Robinson for proofreading the final version of the manuscript, and to the participants in this research project, for sharing their theatre world-views. Both authors contributed equally to the development of the paper.


Rojas Gaviria, P. and Emontspool, J. (2015), "Global cities and cultural experimentation: cosmopolitan-local connections", International Marketing Review, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 181-199.



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