Hummer, not just a vehicle, it’s a symbol
The Hummer, to many, is more than a vehicle — it’s a symbol of greed and waste or a symbol of America’s frontier, U.S., Canadian and Austrian researchers say.
Study authors Marius K. Luedicke of the University of Innsbruck in Austria, Craig J. Thompson of University of Wisconsin-Madison and Markus Giesler of York University in Toronto researched attitudes toward owning and driving Hummers.
The researchers first investigated anti-consumption sentiments and from those who say they believe they are making a moral choice by shunning consumerism. To them, Hummers represent the ills of contemporary society, the researchers say.
Hummer owners framed themselves as
moral protagonists in the ongoing debate over consumer values and employ the ideology of American foundational myths, such as the
rugged individual, and the
boundless frontier. They say they believe they represent a bastion again anti-American discourses evoked by their critics.
The moralistic critique of their consumption choices readily inspired Hummer owners to adopt the role of the moral protagonist who defends American national ideals, Luedicke says in a statement.
The findings are published online ahead of print in next April’s Journal of Consumer Research.