Consumer Cosmopolitanism

PETRA RIEFLER

University of Vienna, Austria

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs247

Consumer cosmopolitanism describes the extent to which a consumer: “(a) exhibits an open-mindedness towards foreign countries and cultures, (b) appreciates the diversity brought about by the availability of products from different national and cultural origins, and (c) is positively disposed towards consuming products from foreign countries” (Riefler, Diamantopoulos, and Siguaw 2012, 287).

The origins of the term cosmopolitanism, which consists of the words cosmos (world) and politis (citizen), date back to the early classical periods of Greek thought. Over centuries, the term has been used to describe individuals who break free from the boundaries of locality and who wish to distinguish themselves by a willingness to engage with and borrow from other cultures (Hill 1998). In a contemporary perspective, cosmopolitans are seen as people who identify themselves as members of a global community rather than a specific nation-state. These are people who tend to travel, to be unprejudiced, to be interested in the unknown, and to use broader reference frames of values than those of their local community. Importantly, this broader reference frame represents a reflective distance to the locality rather than an alienation. Cosmopolitan consumers are not disengaged from the city or village they live in: they can be involved in local activities and groups despite their global background. ...

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