Edited by Russell W. Belk
Jeﬀ B. Murray and Julie L. Ozanne Introduction As colleagues at Virginia Tech in the mid-1980s, we witnessed the beginning of interpretive consumer research. The emergence of this research tradition was gradual and involved heated debate. Twenty years later, interpretive research is an accepted and dynamic force in consumer behavior and marketing (Arnould and Thompson, 2005). Interpretive research is well represented at doctoral consortiums and national and international meetings of the Association for Consumer Research. The current web of social and cultural support includes the annual Heretical Consumer Research gathering of interpretive researchers, Eric Arnould’s biennial interpretive methods workshop, and now this handbook of qualitative methods edited by Russ Belk. The emergence of an interpretive tradition paved the way for the acceptance of critical theory in the Journal of Consumer Research (Murray and Ozanne, 1991). Although critical theory dates back to 1930 when the philosopher Max Horkheimer became director of the Society for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany, for many consumer researchers this was their ﬁrst exposure to the tradition (see Kilbourne, 1989; Rogers, 1987). Indeed, critical theory is philosophically diﬀerent from interpretive research, although most consumer researchers interested in this area come from the interpretive community. It is puzzling to note that critical theory does not enjoy the same growth and support that we ﬁnd with interpretive research. Given the hundreds of conversations with colleagues over the last 14 years, reasons for this slow growth are not lack of interest or motivation. Instead, confusion arises over the philosophy...
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