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Globalisation and consumers' changing lifestyles

Jafari, Aliakbar (2009) Globalisation and consumers' changing lifestyles. In: 7th International Management Conference, 2009-12-19 - 2009-12-21. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

My primary objective in this presentation is to deconstruct globalisation as a meta-narrative in order to better analyse its multiple mechanisms and consequences at a very micro level. Although it is a foregone conclusion that globalisation has affected almost all aspects of our public and private lives, understanding the complexities associated with this portmanteau term seems to be more easily said than done. Amongst all the pioneer disciplines (i.e., economics, international business and management, international relations, media studies, etc.) that have taken the plunge to study globalisation (mostly at a macro level), Marketing can provide an invaluable ground to examine the case at a very mundane level. This is because Marketing deals with the very texture of society at large. As a result of its metamorphosis over the last two decades, Marketing is no longer seen as a purely managerial discipline that is concerned with the organisation of the 4Ps or 7Ps; neither is it about the management of an independent entity, namely the 'market', in a vacuum. Rather in a broader sense, Marketing is evermore inclined in better understanding of the socio-cultural context in which markets - as modern social institutions - operate along with their multiple players. Undoubtedly, consumers can be viewed as the most crucial stakeholders all marketing activities of firms/organisations would normally rotate around. Consumers, however, are not passive or even active segments waiting to be served or satisfied by providers of goods or services. Consumers are proactive individuals who, reposed on their unprecedentedly high literacy and analytical power, are capable of scrutinising both the content (resources) and context (dynamics) of their marketplace. The most immediate manifestation of such reflexive scrutiny is adoption and adaptation of multiple lifestyles. Lifestyles, as narratives of 'self', are constantly shaped and reshaped in an ever-changing world reconfigured by the multifaceted interactions between the global and the local sceneries. Consequently, Marketing needs to not only pace with such rapid changes but also move ahead of its most ultimate stakeholder group (i.e., consumers). Drawing upon such issues, in this presentation, I seek to highlight the importance of prioritising the understanding of mechanisms rather than consequences of globalisation. In so doing, I provide examples from branding, country of origin effect, aesthetics of consumption, marketing communications, marketing research, and the like to propose a series of recommendations for both Marketing theory and practice in the Iranian context.