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Consumer Culture Theory (CCT): Twenty Years of Research Essay

Past 20 years: Flurry of Research and studies abot aspects of consumption. CCT presents a non-exhaustive overview about consumption and marketplace behavior: A family of theoretical perspectives that address the dynamic relationships between consumer actions, the marketplace, and cultural meanings. Culture is not seen as a homogenous system of collective meanings, way of life and unified values ( eg. Americans / Asians). CCT explores cultural meanings as being numerous and fragmented – A heterogenous distribution of meanings.

Culture therefore is an aglomeration of heterogeneous meanings and different cultural groupings, which are overlapping within a sociohistoric frame and mediated by markets. Consumer culture is viewed as “social arrangement in which the relations between lived culture and social resources, between meaningful ways of life and the symbolic and material resources on which they depend, are mediated through markets” and consumers as part of an interconnected system of commercially produced products and images which they use to construct their identity and orient their relationships with others.

CCT conceptualizes culture as the very fabric of experience, meaning and action It frames consumers’horizons of conceivable action, feeling, and thought, making certain patterns of behavior and sense-making interpretations more likely than others. Demythologizing CCT (3 major misunderstandings in CCT) CCT does NOT particularly study consumption contexts. Theorists study in consumption contexts to gather theory and insight. Investigation of cultural dimensions of consumption IN context.

The primary differences between CCT and other traditions of consumer Research are NOT only methodological. Qualitative data and an array of related data collection and analysis techniques have been quite central to CCT, however this methodological predilection follows from the aims that drive CCT rather than from a passion for qualitative data or vivid description per se. CCT focuses on the experiential and sociocultural dimensions of consumption that are not plainly accessible through experiments. (product symbolism, ritual practices, the consumer tories).

CCT researchers do not only rely on qualitative methodologies but actually embrace methodological pluralism. CCT research is misperceived in some disciplinary quarters as a sphere of creative expression and managerial irrelevance. However, subsequent developments, such as customer relation management, lifestyle and multicultural marketing, and the proliferation of so-called identity brands, have brought consumer meanings to the center of managerial concerns, and consequently ethnographic methods have become commonplace in applied market research.

An understanding of consumer symbolism and lifestyle orientations is essential to successful marketing strategies Illuminating CCT Investigation of the contextual, symbolic, and experiential aspects of consumption as they unfold across a consumption cycle that includes acquisition, consumption and possession, and disposition processes and analysis of these phenomena from macro-, meso-, and micro-theoretical perspectives ? symbolic, embodied, and experiential aspects of acquisition behavior.

Consumption and possession practices, particularly their hedonic, aesthetic, and ritualistic dimensions have perhaps been the most widely studied constellation of phenomena identi? ed with the CCT tradition Consumer culture theory explores how consumers actively rework and transform symbolic meanings encoded in advertisements, brands, retail settings, or material goods to manifest their particular personal and social circumstances and further their identity and lifestyle goals.

Research programs CCT Research cut across the process-oriented categories of acquisition, consumption, and disposition in way that the theoretical scope of marketing research transcends the 4Ps framework. It has advanced consumer behavior with knowledge of sociocultural processes and structures of: Consumer identity projects: Marketplace is seen as a source of symbolic values and consumers as Identity seekers and – makers.

It includes several studies on ways in which consumers pursue personally edifying goals and create a coherent self-identity through consumption and the marketplace in general. Marketplace culture: features of the marketplace-culture intersection. Consumers are seen as culture producers (Traditionally Anthropological: people as culture bearers). How does the emergence of consumption as a dominant human practice reconfigure cultural blueprints for action and interpretation? “creation of consumption worlds or microcultures through the pursuit of consumption” Sociohistoric patterning of consumption: s the institutional and social structures that systematically influence consumption (class, community, ethnicity, gender). Consumers = enactors of social roles and positions. Study of “Consumer society” (influence of gender, ethnicity, social class hierarchy, families) Mass-mediated marketplace ideologies and consumers’ interpretive strategies: Normative messages about consumption transmitted by media and consumers’ response.

Consumers are perceived as interpretive agents, that either tacitly embracing the dominant representation of consumer identity and lifestyle ideals portrayed in the media or consciously deviating from these ideological instructions Consumer ideology as a systems of meaning that tend to channel and reproduce consumers’ thoughts and actions in such a way as to defend dominate interests in society. It is increasingly influenced by economic and cultural globalization.

Cultural production systems (e. g. marketing communications) orient consumers toward certain ideologies or identity projects. (raising criticisms of identity play, capitalism and marketing) Basically, CCT is concerned with Cultural Meanings, Sociohistoric Influences and Social Dynamics that shape consumer experiences and identities. Consumption is seen as a historically shaped mode of sociocultural practice within the structures and ideological imperatives of dynamic marketplaces.


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