Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Knowledge as a marketing strategy: Cultural information and ethnic crafts in the retail environment
by Becvar, Katherine M., M.A., University of California, San Diego, 2006, 103; 1451764
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis discusses how cultural information is used to market ethnic crafts from Latin America. Investigating the ways that crafts are presented in the retail environment is important because here is where the best virtues of the crafts are described to the consumer. Retail stores emphasize the cultural qualities of the ethnic goods they sell, which allows customers to cultivate cultural capital and a sense of social distinction through learning about the crafts that they are purchasing.

This thesis presents ethnographic research from two stores in San Diego, California that sell ethnic crafts from Mexico and Latin America. Each store uses a different strategy for marketing ethnic crafts, each of which is influenced by the different geographic and political locations they occupy in San Diego. The variations in strategy are evident in the different uses of language which references distance, authenticity, and nostalgia. This thesis also discusses the way that retail space is used to teach customers how they should think about, approach, and use crafts, and also the ways that the store environment is structured in reference to the ethnic nature of the crafts it sells. Ultimately, information that retail stores present about ethnic crafts maintains gaps in space and time that the forces of globalization—migration, transportation, and communication—are working to undo. These gaps in space and time foster consumer demand for ethnic crafts by encouraging customers to view them as objects both foreign and familiar.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Newsome, Elizabeth
School: University of California, San Diego
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 46/04M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Hispanic American studies
Publication Number: 1451764
ISBN: 978-0-549-41971-6
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