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The impact of cultural globalisation on the interrelatedness of identity construction and consumption practices of Iranian youth

Jafari, Aliakbar (2008) The impact of cultural globalisation on the interrelatedness of identity construction and consumption practices of Iranian youth. European Advances in Consumer Behaviour, 8. pp. 539-41. ISSN 0306-8293

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Whilst the majority of consumer research into the concepts of culture and identity has been conducted in Western/developed contexts, this study has used Iran as a developing non-Western country for further investigation into consumer behaviour research. Positioned in Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) and with a particular focus on cultural consumption, the study examines 'the impact of cultural globalisation on the interconnectivity of identity construction and consumption practices of young Iranians.' To study such issues, Iran offers a highly interesting context. With the significance of the 1979 Islamic Revolution as a turning point (transition of power from a secular monarchy to a theocratic state), the contemporary history of Iran is wrought with ideological, political, cultural, and religious contradictory juxtapositions. This complexity gets even more intensified as the country has confronted a contested globalisation that has affected Iranians' identities, lifestyles, and consumption practices. Employing grounded theory as its core methodology, the research addresses Ger's (2005) call for studying the interrelatedness of globalisation dynamics and the traditional/institutional forces that influence consumers' identities and lifestyles. By studying such interactions, the thesis advances the current debates of globalisation forces within the CCT stream by demonstrating how individuals' everyday life consumption practices and lifestyle choices are, to a high extent, affected by both external (globalisation) and internal (the traditional/institutional) forces of their social context. More specifically, the key contribution of the study lies in the fact that it examines the subjective consumption experiences of young Iranians - whose sense of self and identity is influenced by the powerful global cultural flow - in a society where the traditional/institutional dynamics objectively impose their own values and ideal lifestyles on these individuals. Therefore, the findings of the study can serve the theoretical body of CCT literature by contributing to the existing knowledge on the specific areas of globalisation and consumer identity. In the light of the findings, the research raises a series of questions and calls for further investigation into the dynamics of globalisation in both developed and developing countries.