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Story of Cool: Journey from the West to Emerging Arab Countries

Consumer Culture Theory

ISBN: 978-1-78754-286-0, eISBN: 978-1-78754-285-3

Publication date: 10 April 2019


Purpose: Cool, a subjective, socially constructed concept has interested several researchers investigating its nature and successful marketing applications. However, the authors note a lack of studies investigating its perceptions in non-Western cultural contexts. The aims of this study are to investigate the meanings of cool in Tunisia, a North-African, Arab-Muslim emerging country.

Methodology: The authors conducted qualitative research through focus groups with Tunisian consumers. The authors used lexical, thematic, and semiotic analyses to investigate cool meanings.

Findings: Findings show that the term “Cool” in Tunisia is mostly related to lexical synonyms and meanings of lightness and flexibility, fun and amusement, humor, and trendiness rather than originality, divergence, creativity, and uniqueness long argued to be the significations of cool in Western literature, despite their minor presence in our results.

Originality/Value: Results show further evidence that the concept is culturally laden and that the socio-cultural characteristics of Tunisia altered its meanings established in the West, mostly associated to its origins and emergence.



Zouaoui, H. and Smaoui, F. (2019), "Story of Cool: Journey from the West to Emerging Arab Countries", Bajde, D., Kjeldgaard, D. and Belk, R.W. (Ed.) Consumer Culture Theory (Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 20), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 73-84.



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