Doing Anthropology in Consumer Research
Doing Anthropology in Consumer ResearchPatricia L. Sunderland; Rita M. DennyLeft Coast Press, Inc.352 pp.Nov, 2007

Abstract

Doing Anthropology in Consumer Research is an essential new guide to the theory and practice of conducting ethnographic research in corporate consumer environments. Patricia Sunderland and Rita Denny argue that, while the recent explosion in the use of “ethnography” in the corporate world has provided unprecedented opportunities for anthropologists and other qualitative researchers, this popularization has also too often divorced ethnography from its foundations, resulting in distortions in its use as a method of research as well as the concept of culture. In response, they reframe the field by re-attaching ethnography to theoretically robust and methodologically rigorous cultural analysis. The engrossing text draws on decades of the authors’ own eclectic research—from coffee in Bangkok and advertising in New Zealand to technology and boredom in the United States—using methodologies from focus groups and in-situ interviews to semiotics and visual ethnography. Four provocative discussion pieces by leaders in anthropology and consumer research further push the boundaries of the field and challenge the boundaries of academic and applied work. In addition to reorienting the field for academics and practitioners, this book is an ideal text for students, who are increasingly likely to both study and work in corporate environments.

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