Journal of Consumer Behaviour

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Volume 15 Issue 5 (September/October 2016), Pages 385-489

Is Consumer Culture Theory research or realpolitik? A sociology of knowledge analysis of a scientific culture (pages 387-395)


When Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) was introduced by Arnould and Thompson () it was part of a strategy to create legitimacy for interpretive research. It was argued that interpretive researchers needed to be more pragmatic in their attitude. This was a fundamental change in the scientific culture in this stream of research. This paper analyses these changes and studies how CCT represents a new and pragmatic attitude. It is shown how the changes intended by CCT can imply a shift from a focus on new groundbreaking research to an awareness of the consequences of realpolitik. This strategic move can be seen as an example of how scientific cultures try to move from a marginal position to the mainstream. The consequences of this attempt to manage science are analysed, and solutions to problems created by these changes are developed. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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