Marketing specialists Eric Arnould and Craig Thompson have synthesized consumer culture theory (CCT) across twenty years of research. In their overview, money is missing. They note that “‘consumer culture’ … conceptualizes an interconnected system of commercially produced images, texts, and objects that groups use—through the construction of overlapping and even conflicting practices, identities, and meanings” (2005, 869), but they do not identify money as an object in the system of meaning making.

Money is much more than legal tender. It depends on social interactions, shared understandings, and trust to function and to be recognized as having the qualities of money. Money does three things: (1) it facilitates the transfer of the rights to goods and services (transfer facilitation); (2) it may be used in a variety ...

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