Summary and Reflection on Consumer Culture Theory (CCT)

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Summary and Reflection on Consumer Culture Theory (CCT)
The body of research on CCT in the last two decades has seen the emergence of CCT as an alternative to Consumer Behavior. The term was coined by Arnould & Thompson (2005). According to the researchers, various domains have been identified, including the identity of consumer projects, market cultures, and the sociohistoric patterning on consumer consumption as well as mass-mediated marketing approaches and ideologies on consumers. All these domains aid in illuminating the consumer consumption circle.
Arnould & Thompson (2005) articles on Consumer Culture Theory (CCT): Twenty Years of Research synthesizes two decades of research which addresses the socio-cultural, ideological, symbolic, and experimental aspects of consumption. According to Arnould & Thompson (2005), Consumer Culture Theory has fulfilled the call on developing the body theoretical knowledge regarding consumption of the existing market behaviors. According to Arnould & Thompson (2005), CCT is a field of research seeking to unravel various forms of complexities related to consumer culture. Consumer Culture Theory doffers in dimensions and is fairly a homogenous concept of a shared meaning, unifying values, and lifestyles. Arnold and Thompson writes, “American share this kind of culture; Japanese share that kind of culture” (Arnould & Thompson, 2005).
In consumer culture theory, Arnould & Thompson (2005) argue that consumer cultures refer to the actions (do and believe) of consumers instead attributing the phenomenon to the character. Therefore, Arnould’s & Thompson’s (2005) CCT research explore the heterogeneous distribution of cultural meanings that overlaps cultural groupings existing in the contemporary society. In addition, CCT researcher addresses the socio-historical frames related to market capitalism and globalization (Arnould & Thompson, 2005).
From Arnould & Thompson (2005) CCT’s point of view, market dynamics of consumer fragmentation, fluidity, hybridization, and the plurality of consumption are significant. Therefore, consumer culture is so dynamic that it captures boundaries spanning economic, social relations, material, and symbolic features, and meaningful ways of life. This implies that consumption entails consumer cultures dictated by the connection of consumer lived experiences, a factor that encompasses consumers’ meaningful ways of life and those symbols on which these extremes depend. Arnould & Thompson (2005) supports their view by citing Kilbourne’s et al. (2002) research, who argues that Western organization rely on technology as a symbol that transforms economies while averting environmental challenges. In addition, the ideology of technological consumption aid in supporting liberal democracies, the creation of a free market, and reduced government interventions.
Thus, Arnould & Thompson (2005) contends that the consumption of commodities in the market with the desire to utilize market-inducing symbols is significant to the consumer culture. Hence, the choice of commercialized symbols and offerings is driving reproduction. Furthermore, people’s perception of the quality of life comes through the lens of consuming greater quantities of goods and exceptional services. This characteristic can be summed up by describing people as materialistic because of their orientation towards goods and production-consumption.
Today, consumer culture theory scholars focus on diverse ways of amending consumer culture concepts and the various domains proposed by Arnould & Thompson (2005). These researchers use CCT concepts and domains to understand the global consumption cultures as mediated by the dynamics of the market. The work of Arnould & Thompson (2005) two decades later enables organizations and corporations to understand the impact of consumer identity in influencing the marketplace.

Arnould, E. J., & Thompson, C. J. (2005). Consumer culture theory (CCT): Twenty years of research. Journal of consumer research, 31(4), 868-882.


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