Utilising consumer introspection theory to place the culture of consumer research into the flow of life

Timothy Stone, Fuat Firat, Stephen Gould

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article takes initial inspiration from the disciplinary pioneers
of humanistic/cultural consumer research (especially Belk
1987, 1988; Belk, Wallendorf and Sherry 1989; Firat 1985; Firat and
Dholakia 1982; Hirschmann and Holbrook 1982; Holbrook 1987;
McCracken 1986; Mick 1986) who “encouraged investigation of
the contextual, symbolic, and experiential aspects of consumption...
from a macro, meso and micro theoretical perspective” (Arnould &
Thompson 2005: 871). Such esteemed scholars often reflected insight
from macroeconomics, microeconomics, psychology, sociology,
anthropology, philosophy and the humanities into their accounts
of consumer research. In this sense, and as Holbrook (1987) suggests,
consumer researchers’ have often adopted a multidisciplinary stance
in attempting to view such constructs as acquisition, consumption,
possession and disposition through different theoretical lenses. In
this vein, and to paraphrase Belk (1987), the aim of this paper is to
reflexively examine the relationship between the culture of consumer
research and the rest of life. As Dholakia (2012: 221) suggests, this
is important as it may allow us to better appreciate the “intertwined
and not-so-visible rhizomes, linkages, influences, and flows” within
our discipline.
With the preceding aim in mind, we specifically position ourselves
alongside marketing and consumer researchers who have either
attempted to provide a critical perspective (see Dholakia 2012,
2009; Dholakia and Firat 2006; Firat 2009; Firat and Dholakia 1982,
2003, 2006; Firat and Venkatesh 1995) or those scholars who have
adopted an emotionally sensitised and close view of consumer research
in relation to, for example; jazz consumption (e.g. Holbrook
1987), introspection (e.g. Gould 1991, 1995, 2008a, 2008b, 2012),
place, technology and representation (e.g. Sherry 2000), poetry (e.g.
Sherry and Schouten 2002), embodied imagination (e.g. Joy and
Sherry 2003), videography (e.g. Belk and Kozinets 2005), post-humanism
(e.g. Venkatesh, Karababa and Ger 2002) and transcendental
consumption (e.g. Minowa 2011). Indeed, as Joy and Sherry (2003)
in line with Pham, Cohen, Pracejus and Hughes (2001) suggest, feelings
play a central role in consumers’ (and consumer researchers)
day-to-day lives and merit serious investigation. Following on from
this, and as Joy and Sherry (2003) posit, studies of embodied realism
(conscious and unconscious) have generated some of the most
exciting consumer research as it allows us to get closer to the cultural
context, atmospherics, texture and undercurrents that surround and
permeate day-to-day life (Sherry and Schouten 2002).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-421
Number of pages5
JournalAdvances in Consumer Research
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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