Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior in Turn-of-the-Century Phoenix, Arizona

  • Susan L. Henry


Socioeconomic status has been put forth as an explanation for some of the variability in the archaeological record: People buy what they do because of their status position in society. This should not come as much of a surprise since it is quite apparent, in the world around us today, that less affluent, “lower-class” people possess different kinds of things than do more affluent, “upper-class” people (consider cars, houses, and clothes, for example). In fact, successful advertising firms and market analysts depend upon this phenomenon to develop advertising campaigns for manufacturers that sell a bewildering array of consumer goods (see Kassarjian and Robertson 1973a; Levy 1973; Martineau 1958). The valuable contribution made by historical archaeological research has been to verify empirically that this phenomenon did in fact occur in the past, and to suggest the degrees to which patterns of material culture varied according to socioeconomic status. While valid as a general explanation, it does not go quite far enough. How does socioeconomic status account for this variability—what are the processes? By looking at a particular kind of human behavior—consumer behavior—and the factors that influence that behavior, we can come closer to understanding why and how the variability covaries with status. If a sufficient data base has been developed, research can focus on analytical units larger than the single site, making comparisons within and between social groups (socioeconomic as well as ethnic).


Consumer Behavior Archaeological Record Historical Archaeology Archaeological Collection Decorative Technique 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan L. Henry
    • 1
  1. 1.Heritage Resources BranchFairfax County Office of Comprehensive PlanningFalls ChurchUSA

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