The Use of Western Brands in Asserting Chinese National Identity
Chinese consumers employ Western brands to assert competing versions of Chinese national identity. These uses emerged from findings that Chinese form meanings of Western brands, drawing from select historical national narratives of East‐West relations: the West as liberator and Western brands as instruments of democratization; the West as oppressor and Western brands as instruments of domination; the West as subjugated and Western brands, by their own subjugation, as symbolically erasing China’s past humiliations; and the West as partner and Western brands as instruments of economic progress. Our emergent theory elaborates processes by which Western brands are shaped by macrolevel, sociohistorical forces to motivate consumers’ responses to them as political action tied to nation making.
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