Edited by Russell W. Belk
Chapter 13: The Extended Case Method in Consumer Research
Steven M. Kates The extended case method (ECM), a mode of data analysis and theory reconstruction, originates from sociological and social anthropological theory (Burawoy, 1991, 1998). It has made its appearance in recent consumer research studies and shows considerable promise to extend theory into relevant domains such as technology and satisfaction (Fournier and Mick, 1999), consumers’ choices (Allen, 2002), brands (Holt, 1998) and institutionalized consumption settings (Holt, 1995). ECM, in contrast to its cousin, grounded theory (Strauss and Corbin, 1998), which seeks to develop invariant principles by abstracting from context, aids in the formulation of historically and contextually bound explanations of cases, social situations and particular consumption outcomes (see Burawoy, 1991, p. 280). Also in contrast to other interpretive, qualitatively oriented approaches such as grounded theory, ECM also seeks to understand the eﬀects of macro social, cultural and contextual forces on situations, as reﬂected in micro observational and interview data. In the words of Michael Burawoy (ibid., p. 282), the method’s chief proponent from sociology, ECM ‘seeks to uncover the macro foundations of a micro sociology. It takes the social situation as the point of empirical examination and works with given general concepts and laws about states, economies, legal orders and the like to understand how those micro situations are shaped by wider structures’. The purpose of this chapter is to review the background of ECM, the ways it has been used in the consumer research discipline to further theory, give an example of its use and recommend...
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