Edited by Victoria Wells and Gordon Foxall
Chapter 3: Culture and Consumer Behavior: Contextual and Compositional Components
C. Samuel Craig and Susan P. Douglas 3.1 INTRODUCTION Cultures around the world are many, diverse, multifaceted, and changing. Certain elements of culture are malleable and others are highly resistant to change. While the pace of change has accelerated due to modern technology and increased mobility, there is an ethnie core (Naroll 1970) that remains more or less constant. This provides an enduring core, although at times it may be obscured by external changes. For example, adoption of Western modes of dress or acceptance of US fast food might suggest an embrace of Western values. However, these external trappings may simply mask deep seated traditional values that are firmly rooted in the culture and highly resistant to change. Thus, the challenge is often to separate extraneous elements and determine culture’s role in shaping behavior. The most visible manifestations of culture are often the cultural artifacts that members of the culture create and consume such as food, clothing, entertainment, housing, and personal possessions. Equally important are the values and beliefs that sustain the culture and the language that facilitates communications and helps bind a particular culture together. Collectively, they create an enduring legacy of traditions and customs handed down from generation to generation. At the same time, members of a particular culture are exposed to elements of other cultures through mass media, the internet, or personal contact. These links to other cultures have the potential to alter an existing culture, either enriching it or diminishing it, depending on one’s point of...
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