Social categorisation and group identification
How African-Americans shape their collective identity through consumption
in Innovation by demand

This chapter analyses how African Americans use consumption to express collective identity. It considers ‘group identification’ and ‘social categorisation’ through interviews conducted with black marketing experts who specialise in the African-American market place. The marketing experts are viewed both as individual consumers and as members of an occupational group that is built on increasing the importance of consumption in creating individual social identities. They argue that for African Americans, the formation of collective identity is centred on defining their place in U.S. society, finding ways through consumption behaviour to demonstrate social membership. Furthermore, the concepts of group identification and social categorisation improve our understanding of the meaning of consumption for this group. The role of the marketing specialists is found to have a crucial role in defining what it means to belong in black society in terms of defining the space of black consumption itself and also in shaping the wider public's perceptions of blacks through intermediaries such as the advertising industry. This chapter also discusses consumer discrimination and the racialisation of consumption.

Innovation by demand

An interdisciplinary approach to the study of demand and its role in innovation


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