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Consumer culture theory

calendar_month 06 Iun 2013, 00:00
The past 20 yr. of consumer research have produced a flurry of research addressing the sociocultural, experiential, symbolic, and ideological aspects of consumption. In this article, we offer a thematic overview of the motivating interests, conceptual orientations, and theoretical agendas that characterize this research stream to date, with a particular focus on articles published in the Journal of Consumer Research (JCR).

Owing to the length constraints of this forum, we regrettably cannot give due consideration to the full spectrum of culturally oriented consumer research that appears in other publication venues such as the European Journal of Marketing; Culture, Markets, and Consumption; International Journal of Research in Marketing; Journal of Consumer Culture; Journal of Marketing; Journal of Material Culture; Research in Consumer Behavior; and a host of books and edited volumes. Accordingly, our thematic review is by no means intended to be exhaustive or all inclusive.

Over the years, many nebulous epithets characterizing this research tradition have come into play (i.e., relativist, postpositivist, interpretivist, humanistic, naturalistic, postmodern), all more obfuscating than clarifying. Each fails to signify the theoretical commonalities and linkages within this research tradition. They either place too much emphasis on methodological distinctions or they invoke overly coarse and increasingly irrelevant contrasts to a presumed dominant consumer research paradigm. A more appropriate and compelling academic brand would focus on the core theoretical interests and questions that define this research tradition. Accordingly, we offer the term “consumer culture theory” (CCT).