- Slides: 10
SUBCULTURES OF CONSUMPTION: AN ETHNOGRAPHY OF NEW BIKERS Schouten, John W. Mc. Alexander, James H. 1995 Henri Pitkänen Elli Hakkarainen
“ A subculture of consumption come into existence as people identify with certain objects or consumption activities and, through those objects or activities, identify with other people.
PRIOR STUDIES ▸ Fox (1987): hierachical social structure of punk culture based on the relative statuses of individual members. ▸ Kinsey (1982): poly-drug focused subculture & Klein (1986): bodybuilding subculture
BACKGROUND ▸ Need: to look at the phenomenon of subculture from consumer behaviour perspective. ▸ Motivation: the possible existence of a distinctive, homogeneous, and enduring subculture that defined itself by a single brand or product.
OBJECTIVES ▸ To present an ethnographic analysis of one subculture of consumption, specifically the ”new bikers”, operationalized as owners of Harley-Davidson motorcycles who do not belong to known outlaw organizations. ▸ To address certain methodological considerations important in studying subcultures of consumption. ▸ To argue in favor of the subculture of consumption as a very useful yet overlooked analytic category of understanding the objects and consumption patterns with which people (and markets) define themselves in our culture.
KEY FINDINGS Hierarchies of commitment & authenticity Each subgroup has its own social structures. Within-group status and across-group status. Ethos A set of core values: personal freedom, machismo, and patriotism and American heritage. Transformation of self Becoming a member of a subculture of consumption means undergoing a process of socialisation.
KEY FINDINGS: MARKETING & SUBCULTURE OF CONSUMPTION ▸ Relationship building: understanding the structure and ethos of a subculture of consumption cultivates a long-lasting, symbiotic relationship ▸ From selling to helping: providing necessary objects, facilitating communications, and sponsoring events may increase customer loyalty, publicity and consumer feedback
MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS ▸ Symbiotic relationship ▸ Assist in socialization ▸ Sponsor events
LIMITATIONS ▸ What’s the line between sponsoring and money-sponsoring? ▸ What if you try to over control the brand community? ▸ Does this apply in the digital world?
THIS RELATES TO… ▸ Companies trying to build brand communities ▸ Trying to understand more than sociological constructs ▸ Brands having core values