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Comparing Consumer Cultures

Comparative accounts of consumer cultures represent attempts to contrast or compare consumer practices and behaviors across different national contexts. They can demonstrate global cultural patterns, such as Americanization, convergence, and differentiation, and reveal qualitative breadth in consumer cultures, past and present. The Americanization thesis holds that consumer culture is a phenomenon definitive to the United States, spreading through globalization processes, including mainstream and niche cultural channels as well as trade and international retailing. Similarly, convergence is the idea that these forces homogenize, so that societies increasingly resemble one another in a common consumer culture, usually implicitly based on Western Europe or the United States. Differentiation or diversification argues rather that cultural differences are more striking or persistent than similarities, due to national institutional arrangements and ...

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