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Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Marketing

Edited by Russell W. Belk

The Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Marketing offers both basic and advanced treatments intended to serve academics, students, and marketing research professionals. The 42 chapters begin with a history of qualitative methods in marketing by Sidney Levy and continue with detailed discussions of current thought and practice in: research paradigms such as grounded theory and semiotics; research contexts such as advertising and brands; data collection methods such as projectives and netnography; data analysis methods such as metaphoric and visual analyses; presentation topics such as videography and reflexivity; applications such as ZMET applied to Broadway plays and depth interviews with executives; and special issues such as multi-sited ethnography and research on sensitive topics.
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Chapter 4: Rethinking the Critical Imagination

Jeff B. Murray and Julie L. Ozanne


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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