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Article
Cultural Diversity in Television Narratives: Homophilization, Appropriation, and Implications for Media Advocacy
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing (2013)
  • Cristel A Russell, American University
  • Hope J Schau, University of Arizona
  • David Crockett, University of South Carolina
Abstract

This research explores the role of cultural diversity in the construction of consumer identity, and in particular, how cultural diversity is appropriated through television viewing. Data based on depth interviews and surveys of young adults who created brand collages centered on a television-based character reveal that viewers identify and engage with television narratives through a process of “homophilization”; that is, they actively envision various features of television narratives as similar to themselves and their own lived experiences. The data also show that homophilizing processes are enacted primarily by customizing the narrative, or textual poaching, in which the consumers insert themselves and their experiences into the narrative, and that consumption choices serve as primary mechanisms for poaching. Because media narratives are important in the formation and maintenance of consumer identity, the authors strongly recommend vigilance in the production and dissemination of socially conscious narratives that allow prosocial and realistic characters with whom consumers can actively engage.

Keywords
  • television influence,
  • consumer culture theory,
  • cultural diversity,
  • narrative,
  • homophily
Disciplines
Publication Date
Spring 2013
Citation Information
Cristel A Russell, Hope J Schau and David Crockett. "Cultural Diversity in Television Narratives: Homophilization, Appropriation, and Implications for Media Advocacy" Journal of Public Policy & Marketing Vol. 32 Iss. Special Issue (2013)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/dcrockett17/3/