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Cultural consumption, interactive sociality and the museum

Jafari, Aliakbar and Taheri, Babak and vom Lehn, Dirk (2013) Cultural consumption, interactive sociality and the museum. Journal of Marketing Management, n/a (n/a). n/a. ISSN 0267-257X

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Abstract

Within marketing and consumer behaviour research, museums have been generally conceptualised as public consumption spaces where visitors benefit from a variety of affective, recreational, and cognitive experiences. As such, the social context has been largely subordinated to enhancing visitors’ cultural consumption experience in the physical environment of the museum. Our study takes a reverse path by highlighting how the cultural consumption experience in the museum nourishes ‘interactive sociality’ both inside and outside the museum. The analysis of our qualitative data (interpretive individual and group interviews and non-participatory observations) on Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow (UK) imply that by leveraging interactive sociality, managers can enhance the museum’s value proposition and societal worth in contemporary society. The paper critiques museum studies’ over-reliance on (social) psychology theories and demonstrates the value of adopting alternative (socio-cultural) approaches to the advancement of theory in the field. It provides evidence for the fact that cultural consumers’ interaction with(in) the organisation is not confined to the physical boundaries of a given context. People extend their varying experiences and sensibilities to other domains beyond the museum walls.