Studying Consumption Behaviour through Multiple Lenses: An Overview of Consumer Culture Theory


  • Annamma Joy University of British Columbia
  • Eric Ping Hung Li University of British Colombia



Since Miller’s (1995) ground-breaking directive to the anthropology community to research consumption within the context of production, CCT has come of age, offering distinctive insights into the complexities of consumer behaviour. CCT positions itself at the nexus of disciplines as varied as anthropology, sociology, media studies, critical studies, and feminist studies; overlapping foci bring theoretical innovation to studies of human behaviours in the marketplace. In this paper, we provide asynthesis of CCT research since its inception, along with more recent publications. We follow the four thematic domains of research as devised by Arnould and Thompson (2005): consumer identity projects, marketplace cultures, the socio-historic patterning of consumption, and mass-mediated marketplace ideologies and consumers’ interpretive strategies. Additionally, we investigate new directions for future connections between CCT research and anthropology.

Author Biographies

Annamma Joy, University of British Columbia

Annamma Joy is Professor of Marketing at the University of British Columbia and has been a visiting scholar at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China-Europe International Business School and SDA Bocconi, Milan among others. Her research interests are primarily in the area of consumer behaviour and branding. She has published widely in consumer behaviour and marketing journals such as the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology, Journal of Economic Psychology, Consumption, Markets and Culture.

Eric Ping Hung Li, University of British Colombia

Eric Ping Hung LI is an instructor at the University of British Colombia and holds a PhD from Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto.