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Balancing Acts: Culture as Commodity Among Business Consultants

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Elias Mellander
Anna-Mari Fagerström
Publicerad i Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research
Volym 5
Sidor 319-337
ISSN 2000-1525
Publiceringsår 2013
Publicerad vid Institutionen för kulturvetenskaper
Sidor 319-337
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.3384/cu.2000.1525.135...
Ämnesord Applied cultural research, intercultural communication, cross-cultural communication, anthropology, expatriate, consulting, cultural analysis
Ämneskategorier Etnologi

Sammanfattning

In this article the authors intend to analyze how the concept of culture is packaged, sold and delivered as a commodity. It is based on an ethnographic study of a Swedish consultancy in the field of cross-cultural communication and the relationship between the company and its clients. The clients were primarily foreign executives working in Sweden or Swedish expatriates, preparing for life abroad. The significance of culture-as-commodity will be explored from the perspective of the company as well as its clients in order to shed light on how the concept of culture can be communicated and what happens to it in the process. The study shows how the company combines theoretical perspectives from anthropology and intercultural communication with the aim to deliver a complex yet accessible understanding of culture to its clients. The analysis shows that these perspectives both clash and synergize, creating contradictions as well as turning culture into an accessible and useful tool for clients. The authors argue that researchers in the field of applied cultural analysis can learn from the example put forth by the balancing act between these two perspectives on culture performed by the company. The authors conclude that although the commodification process reduces and simplifies the meaning(s) of culture, the company still manages to put culture on the agenda, demonstrating to its clients how, why, and in what ways it matters to them.

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