Introduction to the Special Session British Interpretations of Consumer Behavior


Gordon Robert Foxall (1995) ,"Introduction to the Special Session British Interpretations of Consumer Behavior", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 2, eds. Flemming Hansen, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 91.

European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 2, 1995      Page 91



Gordon Robert Foxall, University of Birmingham

It goes without saying I hope that academic consumer research in the United Kingdom ranges far more widely than is represented in the four papers that follow. There is currently in the U.K. a lively collection of empirical and theoretical research projects on consumer behavior that includes the refinement of data gathering and interpretive methods that have become almost traditional and the expression of many new ideas on the content and meaning of consumer research.

Faced with this range of effort, I have made a selection that reflects the variety of interpretive approaches to consumer behavior. The growing importance of interpretive approaches in consumer research internationally justifies this emphasis, and the depth and diversity of the chosen pieces of work suggests that they deserve exposure in this comparative forum.

In the first paper, Bob Grafton Small adopts an ethnographic perspective in describing the roles of order and excess in the consumption patterns of artisans in their everyday world of work. Richard Elliott, in the second paper, discusses contemporary consumption from a postmodern point of view, showing how three interpretive perspectives - phenomenology, social representations, and discourse analysis - can provide a unified critical ethnography of consumer behavior. Next, Stephen Brown, explores the 'dark side' of consumer behavior, including drug addiction and compulsive consumption, through the analysis of works of literature, notably Judith Krantz's, Scruples, and Bret Easton Ellis's, American Psycho. Finally, Gordon Foxall argues that pluralistic consumer research has tended to be post-positivist rather than all-embracing. Even so initially-positivistic a paradigm as radical behaviorism can, however, provide novel insight into the interpretation of consumer behavior - in its environmental context.

These four papers, from Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England, are part of the broadening of consumer research into a truly diverse discipline.



Gordon Robert Foxall, University of Birmingham


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 2 | 1995

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