Consumer culture theory

Authored by: Russell Belk

Routledge Handbook on Consumption

Print publication date:  February  2017
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138939387
eBook ISBN: 9781315675015
Adobe ISBN: 9781317380900


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Despite the label, consumer culture theory (CCT) is not a theory. Rather, it is the name given to a field studying consumption from an ethnographic, conceptual, and qualitative perspective. An article by Arnould and Thompson (2005) summarized twenty years of research in this area that had been published in the Journal of Consumer Research (JCR). They define CCT as research that “focuses on the experiential and sociocultural dimensions of consumption that are not plainly accessible through experiments, surveys, or database modeling” (p. 870). They note that as a result CCT research tends to be qualitative and pluralistic, often using methods such as observation and depth interviews.

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