Global consumer culture: epistemology and ontology

Mark Cleveland (The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada)
Fabian Bartsch (IÉSEG School of Management (LEM-CNRS 9221) – Campus de Paris, Puteaux, France)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Publication date: 8 July 2019



The purpose of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework that highlights the reinforcing nature of global consumer culture (GCC). In doing so, this paper highlights a dialectic process in which consumers trade-off, appropriate, indigenize and creolize consumption into multiple GCCs.


The approach is conceptual with illustrative examples.


GCC is a reinforcing process shaped by global culture flows, acculturation, deterritorialization, and cultural and geographic specific entities. This process allows consumers to indigenize GCC, and GCC to contemporaneously appropriate aspects from myriad localized cultures, producing creolized cultures.

Research limitations/implications

Marketing research and practices need to shift away from the dichotomous view of global and local consumption fueled by a misleading view of segmentation. Instead, marketers should focus on identifying the permutations of emerging GCCs, how these operate according to the context and accordingly position their marketing mix to accommodate them.


The proposed model reviews and integrates existing literature to highlight fundamental research directions that present a comprehensive overview of GCCs, its shortcomings and future directions.



Cleveland, M. and Bartsch, F. (2019), "Global consumer culture: epistemology and ontology", International Marketing Review, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 556-580.

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