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Book part
Publication date: 18 November 2015

Eric J. Arnould and Craig J. Thompson

This paper reflects on the development of Consumer Culture Theory, both as a field of research and as an institutional classification, since the publication of Arnould and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper reflects on the development of Consumer Culture Theory, both as a field of research and as an institutional classification, since the publication of Arnould and Thompson (2005).

Methodology/approach

This paper takes a conceptual/historical orientation that is based upon the authors’ experiences over the course of the 10-year CCT initiative (including numerous conversations with fellow CCT colleagues).

Findings

The authors first discuss key benchmarks in the development of the CCT community as an organization. Next, the authors highlight key intellectual trends in CCT research that have arisen since the publication of their 2005 review and discuss their implications for the future trajectories of CCT research.

Originality/value

The paper by Arnould and Thompson (2005) has proven to be influential in terms of systematizing and placing a widely accepted disciplinary brand upon an extensive body of culturally oriented consumer research. The CCT designation has also provided an important impetus for institution building. The 10-year anniversary of this article (and not incidentally the CCT conference from which the papers in this volume hail) provides a unique opportunity for the authors to comment upon the broader ramifications of their original proposals.

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 30 July 2018

Abstract

Details

Marketing Management in Turkey
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-558-0

Book part
Publication date: 18 November 2015

Amanda Earley

This paper reconsiders the role of critical theory within the field of consumer culture theory.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper reconsiders the role of critical theory within the field of consumer culture theory.

Methodology/approach

The paper is documentary evidence of a roundtable held at the 10th annual Consumer Culture Theory conference on the subject. The roundtable uses discussion and conceptual methods.

Findings

The author begins with a brief introduction to the use of critical theory in the academy and in CCT more specifically. In the course of the roundtable, it was discovered that the reason we do not talk about critical theory more often may be attributable to its success, rather than failure – indeed, it has inspired so many new academic traditions, that we rarely pause to think of the various critical traditions in one place. Building on this foundation, participants were asked to discuss what critical theory means to them; what theorists they have used; what engagement they have had with critical theory traditions in CCT; and what their vision for critical theory influenced consumer research would be. Participation came from both planned and emergent participants. The final conclusion was the felicitous discovery that critical traditions are alive and well in consumer culture theory, and that there are many pathways to pursue critical consumer research in the future.

Originality/value

The roundtable session and paper are a direct response to the conference theme, which asked conference attendees to reflect on the history of consumer research, and specifically the role of critical theory within it. Moreover, the paper builds upon important debates about the philosophy of science and the role of critical theory within consumer research.

Abstract

Details

Debates in Marketing Orientation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-836-9

Book part
Publication date: 18 November 2015

Clinton D. Lanier, Jr., C. Scott Rader and Aubrey R. Fowler

The purpose of this paper is to interrogate the concept of meaning and the meaning making process in consumer behavior. While the study of the consumption focuses…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to interrogate the concept of meaning and the meaning making process in consumer behavior. While the study of the consumption focuses increasingly on how consumers create meaning in a marketing dominated world, it views this process as relatively unproblematic. This paper challenges that perspective and argues that this process is inherently ambiguous.

Methodology/approach

This paper is primarily conceptual in nature. It utilizes a post-structural perspective to theoretically examine the concept of meaning and the meaning making process. It then applies this analysis to the consumption and production of popular culture. Three exemplars from the domain of digital fandom are provided to explore the conceptual arguments in the paper.

Findings

The paper argues that if the meanings of all texts are fundamentally unstable and that meaning itself is endlessly deferred in the meaning making process, then as the consumer becomes the author of the text, the instability and ambiguity of meaning and the meaning making process transfers equally to the consumption process. Rather than view this as a negative aspect of consumer culture, this paper argues that some consumers relish this ambiguity and the freedom that it gives them to manipulate these products, their textual meanings, and the readers’ identities.

Research limitations/implications

The primary limitation of this paper is that it is conceptual in nature. Future research should empirically examine different cases of meaningless consumption to provide more evidence of this interesting and potentially pervasive aspect of consumer behavior.

Originality/value

There is virtually no research that examines meaningless consumption. The value of the paper is that it challenges a core concept in cultural theories of consumer behavior and extends our understanding of consumption.

Details

Consumer Culture Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-323-5

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 7 December 2016

Arch G. Woodside

Abstract

Details

Case Study Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-461-4

Book part
Publication date: 11 August 2014

Kevina Cody

By stepping outside of the consumer socialization model (Ward, 1974) which for many years has resembled a ‘body of verified truths’ when it comes to understanding the…

Abstract

Purpose

By stepping outside of the consumer socialization model (Ward, 1974) which for many years has resembled a ‘body of verified truths’ when it comes to understanding the complex intimacy between young consumers’ identities and the marketplace, this research aims to offer a theoretical and empirical reconsideration of the tangible light and shade, indeterminacy and yet ambition in which these young adolescents’ consumption practices and social contexts are inextricably intertwined.

Methodology

Five different data collection methods were employed; namely personal diaries, in-depth interviews (which were conducted at two separate intervals), accompanied shopping trips, e-collages and researcher diaries. Each method was chosen so as to fulfil a specific purpose and reflect a specific angle of repose on the lived experience and consumption practices of a liminar – those at the heart of marketing’s newest strategic boundary.

Findings

This chapter describes some of the constituent elements of metaconsumption; the proposed theorization of the liminars’ consumption practices and a suggested diversion from ‘the effects’ perspective on young consumers’ socialization.

Research implications

This chapter adds to those which problematize the tendency to view young consumers’ interactions with consumption as measurable by having to pass through pre-defined stages if they are to become recognized as complete consumers. Instead this research aligns with the perspective that young consumers, like adults, must mediate the shifting milieus of their social lives through engagement with a myriad consumption practices.

Originality/value

This perspective responds to an acknowledged empirical dearth (e.g. Martens, Southerton, & Scott, 2004). However, secondly in line with Arnould & Thompson’s (2005) original motivation that CCT encapsulate those who see our discipline as ripe with the potential for new theory generation and widespread applicability, this research aligns micro understandings and theorizations of children’s social worlds and consumer culture practices with existing meso- and macro-levels of consumption theory.

Details

Consumer Culture Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-811-2

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 11 August 2014

Janet L. Borgerson

To investigate possibilities for integrating recent interdisciplinary research on materiality with basic issues in consumer culture theory, this chapter discusses…

Abstract

Purpose

To investigate possibilities for integrating recent interdisciplinary research on materiality with basic issues in consumer culture theory, this chapter discusses understandings of materiality-based concerns and concepts in consumer research and maps possibilities for the future.

Methodology/approach

A review focuses on concepts of materiality, agency, and intention that mark a shift to a relational metaphysics in consumption contexts. Drawing from design theory, digital humanities, and philosophy, notions of flickering and witnessing evoke models of relations and interactions between consumers and consumption objects.

Findings

In this chapter, a disciplinary proposition emerges: consumer research is a form of materiality studies wherein the consumer is designated an element of interest in the relationships and interactions that bring forth the world.

Research implications

An awareness of the fundamental role played in consumer research by materiality-related assumptions may inspire concomitant animation and explication of a relational metaphysics, opening opportunities to recognize processes and practices at the core of consumer behavior previously obscured by prevailing interpretations governed by a singularly agentic, autonomous, and effective human subject. Power relations must not be ignored.

Originality/value of chapter

The chapter makes several contributions: organizes and explicates often taken for granted concepts such as materiality, materialism, and agency, connects consumer research to high-level theorizations of materiality, and synthesizes diverse discussions in consumer culture theory with the possibilities of new materialities.

Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2018

Shahzeb Jafri

Purpose: The paper makes use of Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” to explain Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) as a normal scientific tradition. The paper…

Abstract

Purpose: The paper makes use of Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” to explain Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) as a normal scientific tradition. The paper intends to show how a previously marginalized research tradition has now started solidifying its paradigmatic boundaries, and what implications this holds for aspiring CCT scholars.

Method/approach: The paper makes use of literature from the Journal of Consumer Research and Marketing Theory to point out the methodological and practical issues in the discipline that have been pointed out by CCT proponents. These criticisms are discussed as scientific “anomalies.” Furthermore, the paper critically analyzes immigrant acculturation literature produced by CCT researchers in the past 30 years through a Kuhnian lens to show proponents of the fields implicitly addressing different “anomalies,” explaining the tradition to be a normal scientific one.

Findings: An in-depth analysis of immigrant acculturation literature within CCT shows every successive project within the field has addressed “anomalies” by pointing out research gaps, providing a rationale for their respective methodology, and, in turn, adding precision to theoretical frameworks, depicting a normal scientific tradition.

Originality and value: The paper adds value by discussing the probable consequences of this boundary solidification. On one hand, aspiring scholars will have scientific assumptions with which to enter the laboratory (consumer world) and guidelines that can be used toward publishing. On the other, this can also lead to a possible dogmatization of an emerging consumer research paradigm, making it difficult for new scholars to be creative.

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