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A cultural case study for social marketing

Spotswood, Fiona



Ross Gordon

Jeff French


The starting point for this study was that obesity in the UK, as elsewhere in the West, is socio-economically patterned. This is thought to be due to the low rates of physical activity within lower socio-economic groups and the social-patterning of other behaviours, such as a working class propensity to favour unhealthy energy dense food. Previous studies have shown that the 'decisions' to participate in physical activity are culturally ingrained. Therefore traditional approaches to behaviour change, which are so often based on psychological theory and rely on the target audience’s direct engagement and ultimately self-regulation of behavior for success, would fail to make any impact.

Thus this research took a cultural perspective and set out to understand the mechanisms at play in the ‘background’; behind people’s cognitive understanding of reasons ‘why’ they don’t participate. This approach, which saw me using Bourdieu’s habitus as a theoretical framework, led to a completely alternative set of conclusions about the best way of designing behavior change interventions to target the social patterning of leisure time physical activity.


Spotswood, F. (2015). A cultural case study for social marketing. In R. Gordon, & J. French (Eds.), Strategic Social Marketing. SAGE

Publication Date Apr 1, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 4, 2014
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Book Title Strategic Social Marketing
ISBN 9781446248614
Keywords social marketing, case study, cultural, habitus
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