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Doing Anthropology in Consumer Research
Patricia L. Sunderland; Rita M. Denny
368 pp. / 6.00 x 9.00 / Nov, 2007
Paperback (978-1-59874-091-2)
Hardback (978-1-59874-090-5)
eBook (978-1-61132-483-9)
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Related Interest
  - Anthropology
  - Business and Organizations

A 2009 CHOICE Magazine Outstanding Academic Book

With Forewords by Russell Belk, Frederic Gleach, Vilma Santiago-Irizarry, John Sherry, Donald Stull

Doing Anthropology in Consumer Research is an essential new guide to the theory
"This book is not a 'how to' guide, but it is a manifesto for cultural analysis. It speaks to a wide audience. One can imagine the book being useful and inspiring for many types of readers: those teaching research methods, students thinking about career trajectories, seasoned applied anthropologists looking to sharpen their thinking on current practices or market researchers wishing to develop their anthropological understanding. "

- Simon Roberts, Digital Health Group Intel Corp., reviewed in Anthropology in Action

"In this outstanding, eloquent, and comprehensive text, anthropologists Sunderland and Denny bring valid academic interpretation of the applications of anthropological methodologies to the practice of consumer research and marketing. Commentaries by anthropologists and marketing experts preface each section of the text, while a candid ethnographic narrative and the review of ethnoracial symbolism provides readers with new layers of understanding regarding the research process. An excellent reference for students, faculty, and the general public passionate about the topic. Summing Up: Highly recommended. "

- M. L. Hattari, California State University-Sacramento, CHOICE

" The book is both an informative and entertaining overview of the importance of using anthropology and ethnography in research, as well as a guide to the perils and pitfalls that comprise its use--the archaic notions still used by many so-called marketing gurus....While authoritative, the writing style is by no means dense or difficult to read through....I certainly recommend the book to marketing researchers, students, and executives and employees at advertising firms. "

- Michael Barone, Journal of Consumer Marketing

" This is, in fact, a great book. Not just a good read, but one of those rare books that is sure to repay re-reading multiple times. "

- John McCreery, Anthropology Reviews Database

"Patti Sunderland and Rita Denny (Practica Group, LLC) have done what many have only talked about. They have published a book on doing anthropology in industry and in commercial research. . . . offering a work like this to a client can go a long way to clarifying what we do, and facilitating dialogue over problem definition. "

- Inga E. Treitler, Anthropology News

"The varied engagements with research problems, the entanglements considered in the doing of research, and the reflexive requirements examined when the self is the instrument doing research makes this book a valuable resource for qualitative researchers and students across the disciplines of the social sciences and the varied locales of applied practice associated with these disciplines."

- Hartmut Mokros, Rutgers University

" This work succeeds brilliantly in blurring the increasingly unhelpful perception of a divide between 'applied' and 'academic' anthropology. Along several dimensions, it demonstrates how 'cutting edge' and indeed 'theoretical' post-1980s ethnographic research on consumers and marketing has been. Among the current literature in this field, this book has the comprehensiveness to serve as an ideal teaching tool. "

- George Marcus, University of California Irvine

"Whatever type of anthropology you might pursue, you’ll find an entree to the field in the following pages."

- From the Foreword by John F. Sherry, Jr.

"This book is a gem, and one long awaited by academic applied anthropologists like me. I have taught courses in applied anthropology and ethnographic research methods for many years, and several of my former students have gone on to careers in market research. Had I had access to such a text earlier, my students would have been far more aware of, and far better prepared for, the careers that awaited them.... [It is] eloquently written with wit and candor, and filled with intriguing vignettes illustrating just how important the work of practitioners can be in advancing anthropological theory and method. Their use of multiple methods within the overall ethnographic framework, including rapid appraisal and semiotic analysis, is a model for contemporary fieldworkers, regardless of the location or domain of their work. "

- From the Foreword by Don Stull

and practice of conducting ethnographic research in consumer environments. Patricia Sunderland and Rita Denny argue that, while the recent explosion in the use of “ethnography” in the corporate world has provided unprecedented opportunities for anthropologists and other qualitative researchers, this popularization too often results in shallow understandings of culture, divorcing ethnography it from its foundations. In response, they reframe the field by re-attaching ethnography to theoretically robust and methodologically rigorous cultural analysis. The engrossing text draws on decades of the authors’ own eclectic research—from coffee in Bangkok and boredom in New Zealand to computing in the United States—using methodologies from focus groups and rapid appraisal to semiotics and visual ethnography. Five provocative forewords by leaders in consumer research further push the boundaries of the field and challenge the boundaries of academic and applied work. In addition to reorienting the field for academics and practitioners, this book is an ideal text for students, who are increasingly likely to both study and work in corporate environments.

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