We are all to a greater or lesser degree influenced by the opinions of others. Apart, possibly, from hermits and those psychologically inhibited from any social contact, we all seek to belong to a group or groups of significant others. By accepting advice or information from key influentials, we are more likely to receive approval. Conformity is rewarding: by conforming to the norms of the group or of significant others, we are more likely to be valued as a friend or colleague. Such conformity and its implied meaningful association with others make friendships particularly important for understanding consumer cultures. Friendships influence what and how people consume in terms of communicating and moderating acceptable forms of consumer behavior.

The classical studies that developed these ideas are Personal ...

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