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The Modern Woman Myth as a means of Cosmopolitan Cultural Capital Accumulation: A Gendered Acculturation Perspective

Research in Consumer Behavior

ISBN: 978-1-78052-116-9, eISBN: 978-1-78052-117-6

ISSN: 0885-2111

Publication date: 7 November 2011

Abstract

Purpose – A crucial discussion within the feminist discourse in consumption studies concerns the role of the marketplace in women's emancipation. While some theorists argue that women in contemporary society employ marketplace resources to construct individual, multiple identities, critics call attention to the fact that this argument may be applicable exclusively to Western, white, middle-class women, who possess sufficient capital to participate fully in the consumer culture. Our aim is to demonstrate that non-Western women with limited capital resources can benefit from the self-realizing modern woman discourse criticized by the second wave feminist research stream.

Methodology/approach – In support of the above perspective, we analyze depth interviews with fourteen Romanian women, aged 23–51, who had been living in Italy for one to twelve years at the time of the interview.

Findings – The internalization of the modern woman discourse featured in the marketplace is closely and interactively connected to the acquisition of cultural capital, leading eventually to the adoption of a self-reflexive cosmopolitan strategy that allows women to individuate and effectively resist the dominating discourses in the home and host societies.

Originality/value of paper – Our chapter adds a global dimension to the second wave and postfeminism discussions of the role of the marketplace in women's gender role negotiation. We illustrate that the modern woman discourse featured in the marketplace may act as an emancipating force for women who originated in a patriarchal society. By doing so, we also offer an overlooked gendered perspective on the discourse of global consumer culture.

Keywords

Citation

Chytkova, Z. and Kjeldgaard, D. (2011), "The Modern Woman Myth as a means of Cosmopolitan Cultural Capital Accumulation: A Gendered Acculturation Perspective", Belk, R.W., Grayson, K., Muñiz, A.M. and Jensen Schau, H. (Ed.) Research in Consumer Behavior (Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 199-216. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0885-2111(2011)0000013015

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited