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Specialty Retailers as Cultural Intermediaries: A Social Analysis of the Retail Store Owner

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Specialty Retailers as Cultural Intermediaries: A Social Analysis of the Retail Store Owner

Lee, Crystal (2012) Specialty Retailers as Cultural Intermediaries: A Social Analysis of the Retail Store Owner. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Retail stores are recognized as important economic institutions in Western cities. They are heavily depended on for the goods and services they provide. As consumers in today’s market have developed a greater interest in the symbolic meaning of goods and services, this suggests that the retailer’s impact can be felt beyond the economic sphere. This thesis attempts to understand the social impact of specialty retail store owners. By primarily drawing connections between the specialty retailer’s work and that of the cultural intermediary, the store owner is identified as a social agent and the social aspects of their occupational activities are suggested. The concepts of taste and subculture are important in this analysis as the retailers in this study hinge their activities on supporting a specific taste which is recognized as subcultural. The discussion of both concepts expose their central role in the organization and formation of social groups and offer points of reference with which to guide an analysis of the specialty retailers. Three case studies are conducted and compared. Based on the data gained through interviews, observations, and textual analyses, an assessment of the stores’ specialized goods, their presentation, and the retailers’ activities are made. What is confirmed is the retailers’ role as cultural intermediaries and their ability to support the social negotiations of their consumers. Through their work as cultural intermediaries, the influence they make on individuals can be seen as also impacting social relations and the overall social structure.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Lee, Crystal
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Media Studies
Date:February 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Staseson, Rae
ID Code:973812
Deposited By:YAM CHIN LEE
Deposited On:19 Jun 2012 15:14
Last Modified:15 Nov 2012 16:01
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