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Are Black Consumers a Bellwether for the Nation? How Research on Blacks Can Foreground Our Understanding of Race in the Marketplace

  • Cassi Pittman ClaytorEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Research on Blacks’ experiences and engagement in the market has the potential to serve as a bellwether for patterns of future market change, given demographic shifts that will radically alter the racial landscape in the USA. However, a content analysis of top marketing journals indicates a pattern in which Black consumers are peripheral subjects in the discipline’s leading peer-reviewed research outlets. This has important implications for what we know about Black consumers, but also it reflects racial hierarchies within the discipline. The results of the content analysis also reveal areas where the literature can be improved. Drawing on research emerging out of the sociology of consumption and economic sociology, I suggest directions for a more expansive research agenda that focuses on Black consumers and their marketplace experiences. Conceptualizations of race, racism, and the market advanced in sociology offer useful tools when examining the ways that the market is both liberating and constraining for racial minorities. This chapter also calls our attention to the concepts of cognition, social networks, and social institutions, emerging out of economic sociology, in an effort comprehend the diverse drivers and determinants of Black consumers’ engagement and experiences in the market.

Keywords

African-Americans Blacks Consumers Race Marketing Advertisements Racial discrimination Racism Economic sociology Cognition Social networks Social institutions 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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