Cheris Shun-ching Chan

in Marketing Death

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780195394078
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199951154 | DOI:

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The life insurance business has been growing rapidly in China in recent years, despite complaints by insurance sales agents about the local public’s resistance to discussing death or misfortune. This empirical puzzle serves as a starting point for the book. The introductory chapter poses empirical and theoretical questions, lays out the analytical framework, presents the methodology, and highlights the academic values of the case. It discusses Viviana Zelizer’s insights about the role of cultural values in suppressing the development of American life insurance in the first half of the 19th century, and addresses the questions left unanswered by her argument. In particular, it considers how modern enterprises originating in western contexts can expand to places with different cultural traditions, if cultural values can suppress a market from emerging. To address this question, an analytical framework that incorporates both the classical concept of culture (emphasizing values and ideas) and the tool-kit concept of culture (highlighting practicality), is proposed, laying the groundwork for the analysis in subsequent chapters.

Keywords: cultural repertoire; cultural resistance; cultural taboo; cultural tool-kit; cultural value; culture and market/economic; culture and life insurance; ethnography; global-local dynamics; life insurance in China

Chapter.  6605 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Sociology

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