The image of the consumer role, constructed by motivational research and marketing
Institute for Sociology Technical University Berlin Berlin, Germany
The image of the cosumer role, constructed by motivational research and markeying.
A contribution to the sociology of the consumer
In 2000 John W. Meyer and Ronald L. Jepperson published an essay dealing with the cultural construction of social agency which means that phenomena we designate with terms such as act/action/agent are not of natural origin but constructed artificially. Thus, the specific meaning implied in these terms can be bundled into the question of qualification: who is qualified, qualified due to which criteria, to be in charge of and responsible for action?
Keeping this approach in mind, it can be said that the role of the consumer also can be viewed as a cultural construction of social agency within the modern society although we do not know much about the outlines of this role. Many questions remain open. How, for example, has the cultural construction of the modern consumer emerged? Who was responsible for its production? Since when does this role exist? And what about the key features of this role?
To try to answer some of these questions it could be fruitful to consult motivational research especially the work of Dr. Ernest Dichter because he ranks as on e of the fathers of motivational research. The task of this contribution will be thus to show how motivational research and ac-companying marketing efforts during the 40ties and 50ties of the 20th century were highly engaged with the construction, emergence and denotation of the consumer?s role.