Representing Consumer Research: a Novel Approach

stephen brown, university of ulster, northern ireland

Representing Consumer Research: A Novel Approach

Twenty years ago, Belk contended that marketing and consumer research can learn more from a reasonably good novel than a common garden piece of contemporary social science. In the decades since this declaration, copious scholars have derived many significant insights from the literary canon. Consumer researchers’ pursuit of matters literary, however, has not extended to the next logical step – the novelization of their findings. Despite the advent of “experimental” modes of representation, such as poetry, performance and painting, the preeminent cultural form of the century just past remains beyond the professorial pale. This paper considers our reluctance to write the Great CB Novel and posits four possible reasons for researchers’ apparent reticence. It considers some of the problems encountered by would-be novelists, argues that the pleasures of novel writing far exceed the pains, which are indubitably acute, and maintains that marketing and consumer researchers must not only cull novels for academic insights but compose novels with academic insights.

[ to cite ]:
stephen brown (2007) ,"Representing Consumer Research: a Novel Approach", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 70-74.