Spinning the proverbial wheel? Social class and marketing
Social class is one of the most fundamental dimensions of social organization, influencing almost every aspect of our lives, including market-mediated consumption. Despite this situation, the topic has a chequered history in marketing and consumer research. Significantly, a research program initiated by W. L. Warner in the 1930s in the United States, which emphasized the multifaceted nature of social class and highlighted concepts such as status, social networks, social comparison and class distinctive attitudes, was abandoned for over 30 years. Only relatively recently, consumer researchers (Allen and Anderson, 1994; Holt, 1998) revitalized this type of approach by highlighting the usefulness of Bourdieu’s (1984) theory of social class and taste in explaining consumer behaviour. Strong parallels exist between the old and newer research programs, including similar conceptual underpinnings, matters of emphasis, and empirical findings. An intriguing question arises: `Why the hiatus in the study of social class in the consumer research field?’ To answer this question, we examine the history of social class in marketing and consumer research.
Marketing Theory, Vol. 8, No. 4, 387-405 (2008)
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