Postmodern Consumer Research: The Study of Consumption as Text

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Elizabeth C. Hirschman & Morris B. Holbrook

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  • Dedication

    For Ray and Sally, With Love

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    Preface

    This book traces a continuum of epistemological positions and validity issues back to philosophical questions that stem from the Cartesian dualism between mind and matter. Each philosophical stance along this continuum corresponds to a methodological orientation applicable to consumer research. In this, the criteria for assessing the value of an inquiry parallel the underlying epistemologies. We advocate the need for greater tolerance toward the divergent perspectives of consumer researchers approaching their work from a variety of directions.

    In preparing this book, we have received help from many people. In particular, we thank Sally Holbrook, John O'Shaughnessy, Julie Ozannne, and Barbara Stern for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this book. We also express our gratitude to the publications committee of the Association for Consumer Research. Morris Holbrook gratefully acknowledges the support of the Columbia Business School's Faculty Research Fund.

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    About the Authors

    Elizabeth C. Hirschman is Professor of Marketing, School of Business, Rutgers University. She has published articles in a wide variety of social science and business journals including the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Business, Journal of Advertising Research, Journal of Advertising, Harvard Business Review, Semiotica, Journal of Retailing, and Psychology and Marketing. Her primary research interests are philosophy of science, interpretive research methods and the semiotic analysis of cultural media. She is a past president and treasurer of the Association for Consumer Research and past vice-president of the American Marketing Association. She is a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma.

    Morris B. Holbrook is the Dillard Professor of Marketing in the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University. He earned his bachelor's degree in English at Harvard in 1965. Both his MBA (1967) and Ph.D. (1975) are in Marketing from the Columbia Business School. Holbrook's research applies a broad range of methods from the social sciences and humanities to issues related to communication, consumer esthetics, semiotics, hermeneutics, and other aspects of symbolic behavior. He has published widely in the areas of marketing and consumer research on topics related to the media, entertainment, advertising, and the arts.


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