Edited by Victoria Wells and Gordon Foxall
Gordon R. Foxall and Victoria K. Wells 1.1 SOME WORDS OF EXPLANATION Research on consumer behaviour provides a focus of theorisation and empirical investigation for a wide range of social and natural sciences and as a result often reflects the aspirations and ideologies of its authors and sponsors. So much consumer research appears nowadays to regard consumer behaviour as no more than an application area or testing ground for theories and methodologies, speculations and vested interests, that arise elsewhere. To the extent that consumer behaviour proves amenable to these broader perspectives, its validity as a field of investigation is safeguarded, but there are numerous alternative foci for empirical research should it disappoint. Whether these interests are managerial or scholarly, they do little to advance genuine understanding of consumer behaviour as a defining characteristic of much of humankind. We have sought as far as possible in editing this volume to make disinterested curiosity the central motivation for an examination not of ‘current trends’ in consumer research but of perspectives which promise to develop into new directions for the discipline, and new opportunities to comprehend the nature of consumer choice per se. We have sought, therefore, to embody work that reflects a passion to understand consumer choice as a phenomenon in its own right. We have been inspired to some degree by the development of the scientific study of animal behaviour as a science that has several parallels with that of consumer research. Both are comparatively recent as social sciences, both are...
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