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Part 3. Consumer Behavior

  1. Robert V. Kozinets

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem03005

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Kozinets, R. V. 2010. Subcultures. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 3.

Author Information

  1. York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Contemporary consumer culture consists of subcultures that provide meanings and practices that significantly structure the identities, relationships, and behaviors of consumers. These subcultures are closely related to countercultures and often serve as the source of countercultural images and identities. Their countercultural images and identities are often absorbed by the advertising, entertainment, and marketing industries, and eventually become popularized. In consumer research or consumer cultural studies, subcultures have been related to a variety of different consumption activities. The use of the term subculture has been criticized as overly deviant, ambiguous, and overextended; however, many consumer researchers still find the concept useful. A number of related concepts have been developed, such as subcultures of consumption, communities of consumption, brand communities, and microcultures. The term deals with an ambiguous, dynamic, and important social phenomenon. It is also linked to important bases of literature. As long as lifestyle, differentiation, self-transformation, and small group identities continue to be important aspects of contemporary consumer culture, the concept of subcultures will continue to be both needed and useful.


  • subcultures;
  • brand communities;
  • consumer communities;
  • consumer culture;
  • lifestyle and values;
  • consumer attitudes;
  • consumer values