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The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies by J. Michael Ryan, Daniel Thomas Cook

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Consumer Behavior

RUSSELL BELK

York University, Canada

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs52

It is only within the affluent consumer societies that have developed over the past century or so that consumer behavior could emerge as a research topic. Today our behavior as consumers is a key focus throughout the social sciences and humanities. It is of interest in disciplines and institutions ranging from governmental economic policy units to consumer goods corporations to academic departments of history, geography, anthropology, psychology, sociology, business, cultural studies, and others. But the term is most commonly associated with marketing departments in business schools, where consumer behavior courses are required and where consumer research dominates PhD dissertations and faculty research. It is the subject of many textbooks used in marketing, communications, and advertising departments of universities and, with a focus on journal articles and conference presentations, consumer behavior is most strongly represented in the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the conferences and publications of the Association for Consumer Research, the Society for Consumer Psychology, and the Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) Consortium. Attempts to understand consumer behavior differ in approach depending on whether the researcher favors the psychological side of the discipline or the more sociological and anthropological side, which has become attached to the CCT ...

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