Ethnicity and consumption: South Asian food shopping patterns in Britain 1947-75
Bailey, Adrian R.
Journal of Consumer Culture
This article reviews the literature that explores the relationship between ethnic identities and food consumption, with particular reference to business management studies. It focuses on the food shopping practices of south Asians in Britain in the period 1947 to 1975, to illustrate the need for more historically contextualized studies that can provide a more nuanced exploration of any interconnections between ethnic identity and shopping behaviour. The article draws on a reasonably long-standing interest in ethnicity and consumption in marketing studies, and explores the conceptual use of acculturation within this literature. The arguments put forward are framed by recent interdisciplinary studies of the broader relationship between consumption and identity, which stress the importance of contextualizing any influence of ethnic identifications through a wider consideration of other factors including societal status, gender and age, rather than giving it singular treatment. The article uses a body of empirical research drawn from recent oral histories, to explore how these factors informed everyday shopping practices among south Asians in Britain. It examines some of the shopping and wider food provisioning strategies adopted by early immigrants on arrival in Britain. It considers the interaction between the south Asian population and the changing retail structure, in the context of the development of self-service and the supermarket. Finally, it demonstrates how age, gender and socioeconomic status interacted with ethnic identities to produce variations in shopping patterns.
Authors' draft version also available on University of Surrey e-print repository. Final version published by Sage and available at http://joc.sagepub.com/
Vol. 8, Issue 1, pp. 91 - 116