Rebranding a South Los Angeles Corner Store: The Unique Logic of Retail Brands
Keywords:Brand, Shopping, Retail, Mediation, Food Desert
Retail brands are important mediators of culture and value that help us understand contemporary consumption. Drawing on a collaborative ethnographic approach to a corner store-rebranding project in South Los Angeles, we demonstrate the ways in which physical retail spaces and their curated product mix can shape specific types of shopping experiences and behaviors. Building on recent studies of brand, we argue that retail curation is another important consideration for understanding how brand communications are formed, filtered and expressed. Expanding on theorizations of brand we demonstrate how retail brands, as physical sites of experience, can attempt to influence relationships between consumption, identity and behavior.
Agha, A. 2015 “Tropes of Branding in Forms of Life.” Signs and Society 3: 174-194. https://doi.org/10.1086/679004
Allison, A. 2009 “The Cool Brand, Affective Activism and Japanese Youth.” Theory Culture Society 26: 89-111. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263276409103118
Appel, H. 2015 “On Simultaneity.” Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology website, March 30, 2015. http://www.culanth.org/fieldsights/658-on-simultaneity
Arvidsson, A. 2006 Brands: Meaning and Value in Media Culture. New York: Routledge.
Banet-Weiser, S. 2012 Authentic: The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture. New York: New York University Press.
Bear, L., K. Ho, A. Tsing, and S. Yanagisako. 2015 "Gens: A Feminist Manifesto for the Study of Capitalism." Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology website, March 30, 2015. http://www.culanth.org/fieldsights/652-gens-a-feminist-manifesto-for-the-study-of-capitalism
Boellstorff, T. 2003 “Dubbing Culture: Indonesian Gay and Lesbi Subjectivities and Ethnography in an Already Globalized World.” American Ethnologist 30(2): 225–242. https://doi.org/10.1525/ae.2003.30.2.225
Bourdieu, P. 1984 Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Trans. Richard Nice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Bratich, J. 2011 “User-Generated Discontent.” Cultural Studies 25 (4-5): 621-640. https://doi.org/10.1080/09502386.2011.600552
Caldwell, M. 2004 Not by Bread Alone: Social Support in the New Russia. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Cayla, J. and G.M. Eckhardt. 2008 “Asian Brands and the Shaping of a Transnational Imagined Community,” Journal of Consumer Research, 35 (August), 216-30. https://doi.org/10.1086/587629
Craciun, M. 2012 “Rethinking Fakes, Authenticating Selves.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18: 846–63. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9655.2012.01795.x
Coombe, R. 1998 The Cultural Life of Intellectual Properties: Authorship, Appropriation and the Law. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822382492
Davila, A. 2002 “Talking Back: Spanish Media and U.S. Latinidad.” In Latino/a Popular Culture, eds. Michelle Habell-Pallan and Mary Romero. New York, NY: New York University Press: 25-37.
Dent, A. S. 2012 “Piracy, Circulatory Legitimacy, and Neoliberal Subjectivity in Brazil.” Cultural Anthropology 27 (1): 28–49. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1360.2012.01125.x
Diamond, N., J.F. Sherry Jr., A.M. Muniz Jr., M.A. McGrath, R.V. Kozinets, and S. Borghini. 2009 “American Girl and the Brand Gestalt: Closing the Loop on Sociocultural Branding Research,” Journal of Marketing, 73 (May): 118-34. https://doi.org/10.1509/jmkg.73.3.118
Fortun, K. 2012 “Ethnography in Late Industrialism.” Cultural Anthropology 27 (3): 446-464. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1360.2012.01153.x
Foster, R. 2007 “The Work of the New Economy: Consumers, Brands, and Value Creation.” Cultural Anthropology 22 (4): 707–731. https://doi.org/10.1525/can.2007.22.4.707
Garth, H. and M. Powell. 2013 “A Collaborative Approach To Studying Food Justice In Los Angeles.” Anthropology News 54(10).
Glaser, M. 1985 “I Listen to the Market.” In On Signs, ed. Marshall Blonsky. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press: 467-474.
Graan, A. 2013 “Counterfeiting the Nation? Skopje 2014 and the Politics of Nation Branding in Macedonia.” Cultural Anthropology 28 (1): 161-179. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1360.2012.01179.x
Hill, J. H. 1998 “Language, Race, and White Public Space.” American Anthropologist 100 (3): 680-689. https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.19188.8.131.520
Holt, D. 2004 How Brands Become Icons: The Principles of Cultural Branding. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Holt, D. 2012 Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Create Breakthrough Brands. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Joy, A. and Eric P. H. Li 2012 “Studying Consumption Behaviour through Multiple Lenses: An Overview of Consumer Culture Theory.” Journal of Business Anthropology 1 (1): 141-173.
Jung, Y. and A. Newman. 2014 “An Edible Moral Economy in the Motor City: Food Politics and Urban Governance in Detroit.” Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies, 14(1): 23-32. https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2014.14.1.23
Kelley, R.D.G. 1997 Yo Mama’s Disfunktional: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America. Boston: Beacon Press.
Klumbyte, N. 2010 “The Soviet Sausage Renaissance.” American Anthropologist, 112 (1): 22-37. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1433.2009.01194.x
Lury, C. 2004 Brands: The Logos of the Global Economy. New York: Routledge.
Lury, C. 2010 Consumer Culture (2nd Edition). New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Luvaas, B. 2010 “Designer Vandalism: Indonesian Indie Fashion and the Cultural Practice of Cut ’n’ Paste.” Visual Anthropology Review 26(1):1–16. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-7458.2010.01043.x
Luvaas, B. 2013 “Material Interventions: Indonesian DIY Fashion and the Regime of the Global Brand.” Cultural Anthropology 28 (1): 127-143. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1360.2012.01177.x
Manning, P. 2010 “The Semiotics of Brand.” Annual Review of Anthropology 39: 33-49. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.anthro.012809.104939
Manning, P. and P. Uplisashvili 2007 “’Our Beer’: Ethnographic Brands in Postsocialist Georgia.” American Anthropologist 109 (4): 626-641. https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.2007.109.4.626
Mazzarella, W. 2003 Shoveling Smoke: Advertising and Globalization in Contemporary India. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822385196
Miller, D. 1998 A Theory of Shopping. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press.
Miller, D. 2001 The Dialectics of Shopping. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Moore, R. E. 2003 “From Genericide to Viral Marketing: On ‘Brand.’” Language & Communication 23: 331-357. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0271-5309(03)00017-x
Murphy, K. 2013 “A Cultural Geometry: Designing Political Things in Sweden.” American Ethnologist 40 (1): 118-131. https://doi.org/10.1111/amet.12009
Nakassis, C. V. 2012 “Counterfeiting What? Aesthetics of Brandedness and the Brand in Tamil Nadu, India.” Anthropological Quarterly 85(3): 701–722. https://doi.org/10.1353/anq.2012.0046
Nakassis, C. V. 2013 “Brands and their Surfeits.” Cultural Anthropology 28 (1): 111-126. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1360.2012.01176.x
O’Connor, K. 2003 “Communicative Practice, Cultural Production and Situated Learning: Constructing and Contesting Identities of Expertise in a Heterogeneous Learning Context.” In Linguistic Anthropology of Education, edited by Stanton Wortham and Betsy Rymes, 61-91. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Pine, J. and J. Gilmore. 1999 The Experience Economy. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Redmond, S. and D. Sojoyner. 2015 “Keywords in Black Protest: A(n Anti-) Vocabulary.” Truth Out website, May 29, 2015. http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/31051-keywords-in-black-protest-a-n-anti-vocabulary
Shankar, S. 2012 “Creating Model Consumers: Producing Ethnicity, Race, and Class in Asian American Advertising.” American Ethnologist 39 (3): 578-591. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1425.2012.01382.x
Taylor, K. 2016 From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. Chicago: Haymarket Books.
Thomas, K. 2013 “Brand ‘Piracy’ and Postwar Statecraft in Guatemala.” Cultural Anthropology 28(1): 144-160. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1360.2012.01178.x
Thomas, K. 2014 “Corporations and Communities in Highland Guatemala.” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 37(2): 231-245. https://doi.org/10.1111/plar.12072
Vann, E. 2006 “The Limits of Authenticity in Vietnamese Consumer Markets.” American Anthropologist 108(2): 286–296. https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.2006.108.2.286
Weiss, B. 2012 “Configuring the Authentic Value of Real Food: Farm-to-Fork, Snout-to-Tail, and Local Food Movements.” American Ethnologist 39 (3): 614-626. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1425.2012.01384.x
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).