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  • 00:16

    LISA PENALOZA: I'm Lisa Penaloza,and I'm a Professor of Marketing at KEDGE BusinessSchool in Bordeaux, France.What I'm going to talk about today a bitis ethnography, qualitative research methods.A lot of us come to research in different ways.Usually, those are things that are either near to usor we've experienced personally.And one of the first projects that I got into

  • 00:37

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: was with Mexican immigrants.And I was very interested in the political situationin California.And this was the late 80's, although it's contemporaryas well with immigration.And a lot of the research I do isat the intersection of social dynamics and market activity.

  • 01:06

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: The project I'm going to talk about todayis about the Brazilian gaucho.And I grew up in a small town in Texas.And one of the things that we did every October wasgo to the heart of Texas fair and rodeo.And when I took my job at University of Colorado Boulder,they had a Denver stock show and rodeo.And that rodeo had been going on for about 125 years.

  • 01:29

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: And when I first got to it, of course,this is as a Marketing Professor.And I wondered what was going on there.And a lot of the research questionsthat we asked at times are driven from the contextwhen you do ethnography.And ethnography is a method that involvesimmersion in a field site.

  • 01:51

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: And we use a lot of visuals, photographs, video,field observation, participant observation.I had done work at the structural rodeowhen I got to Colorado.And then, the years passed, and I was actuallycontacted by a Brazilian colleague, Marlon Dalmoro.And he had been following some of my work.

  • 02:12

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: And for him, because he was in the southern part of Brazil,he studied the gaucho.And the gaucho is a very interesting phenomenon, reallyof consumption culture.And the marketing activity in southern Brazilis a little bit like Texas, actually.It's positioned in between the US and Mexico.

  • 02:33

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: For the gaucho, we're in between Brazil and Argentina.So it was the difference between the Spanish and Portuguese.Well, the gaucho are Brazilian cowboys.This was during the colonial period.But for our research, we were interested in present daygaucho.So these are people very determinedto maintain their culture.Started as a student protest, actually, in the 1940s

  • 02:55

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: that was against globalization and modernization.And in particular, modernization influencesthat were eclipsing and leaving behind traditional cultures.So these kids, I mean, they were high school students basicallyset up a camp and made a fire.And they were determined that they weregoing to keep their culture.Their dress, their drinking yerba mate tea,

  • 03:20

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: barbecuing, singing folk songs, and dancing.And that's how things started.And then, years later, this grew into a social movement.And it was one of many traditional movementsthat want to maintain traditional valuesand feel like they're being lost with foreign influences.Fast forward from the 1940s, and it's a growing movement today.

  • 03:41

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: There are two million people who are gaucho cowboys.So in terms of the research methods, what Marlon did--this was his is PhD thesis--was to interview and do observation.And then I joined the project.And one of the challenges when youdo an ethnographic project is it can be a pretty broad scope.

  • 04:07

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: So here's a whole social movement, for example.Or when I was doing work with Mexican immigrants.Immigration is a huge issue.But for that, I was interested in immigrants as consumers,and how do they adapt?So here we've got these Brazilians.And they're dressing in costume.And they have these cultural centers.There's over 2,600 centers that are in Brazil.So in addressing a research question,

  • 04:29

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: a lot of how that begins is to document what's going on there.Who are the people?What are they doing?How are they dressing?What are they eating?What are they wearing?What kind of music?And there's a lot of documentation.And as with any other research, thisis a consumer behavior marketing phenomenon.

  • 04:49

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: So do a literature review.What's in the journals?What's the closest thing topicallythat this particular consumer culture represents?And for us, that was a social movementbecause this really gained a lot of traction in the 1960swhere blue jeans and US rock music was coming in.And so this was a kind of a countercultural movement

  • 05:11

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: to that.And over time, it grew.It was no longer a social movement.It actually became a formal organization.And so they elected leaders.And there were these chapters that were forming.35 different chapters.And people are starting to dance a little different.The music started to change.And so the organization was basicallyfirst doing some research.What was the real gaucho, OK?

  • 05:32

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: And trying to authenticate that.But also to have a type of a participative structurein an organization.And so in previous studies of consumer culture,those tend to be very loosely organized.People come and go.You don't have this kind of a governance issue.So that became the focus for this research.

  • 05:54

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: And so we now talk about that as a consumer cultureorganization.So this paper we've been working on for a while.And just also with some help from the reviewers whoassist in the research process.Well, in doing ethnography, the task is, what's going on there?

  • 06:17

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: And who's involved?And so as we become familiar with the site,you start to see that social structure.What are the different roles?What do people represent?So in our case, for the gaucho, youhave the people who are involved with dance, the people whoare involved with the organization leadership,people are involved with horses, music, the history,

  • 06:40

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: and authenticating.And so the group itself takes on different roles.Now when I was doing work at the Denver stock show and rodeo,the roles for comparison purposeswere ranchers of different breeds of cattle.There were 22 breeds of cattle there.The city slickers, right?People who didn't grow up on a ranch,but they went for entertainment or to show their children where

  • 07:02

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: meat comes from.And also the different booths because this is in facta trade show.And so a lot of the exhibitors.Well, that's somewhat parallel to the gaucho.For the gaucho, we were interested in different agegroups, men and women, different roles in the organization,different roles in the culture, the sponsors, media,people who owned gaucho barbecue restaurants, churrasco.

  • 07:26

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: It becomes a matter of identifying and talkingto people who have different positions in the cultureor in the market formation, different perspectives on that.And it is a type of a purposeful-- whatwe call a purposeful sampling, whereyou want to have that kind of representation in the group.

  • 07:47

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: In terms of talking to people, like with all research,it's important to introduce yourself,to explain the purpose of the study, the affiliationbecause a lot of these are student projects.But if you're working with a company, the same thing.I believe very strongly in ethics and that full disclosureand transparency is important, getting permission,

  • 08:07

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: guaranteeing anonymity, confidentiality when that'spossible because if you're using video,of course the person's face is there, although youcan do a silhouette.And what I found, too, is explaining the purposeof the project in terms that people that makesense in people's lives.So tell us about gaucho culture, or what's

  • 08:28

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: it like to live in the US as an immigrant from Mexicobecome kind of questions.And as with other research, kind of movingfrom more general types of questionsto more specific questions.Doing some homework is good.But also being honest, asking questions, asking for examples.So with qualitative data, the objective is detail.

  • 08:51

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: The objective is concrete examplesof people's experiences, their perspectives, their opinions.In ethnography, the data collection reallystarts with observation and trying to select a field site

  • 09:13

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: becomes really an analytical exercise of,where can I see this culture?A lot of the work that I do is about consumer cultureor market culture.So for us, for the gaucho project, there's a parade.And it goes through town.And so this is an opportunity where gaucho cultureshows itself to the public.

  • 09:34

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: Being present at the parade, taking a lot of photographs,talking to people.And then, there's a two week celebration.Dates to the whole history of the gaucho.And so that's a two week celebrationwhere people set up camps and use the campin Puerto Alegre in Brazil.So going there, and then seeing the layout of the maps

  • 09:55

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: and the different cultural centersfrom the different small towns are there.In analyzing this data, what the data will look likeis a lot of different types of information.So we have interview information.There's observation that's recorded in field notes.There may be videos.And so it's important to transcribe, to organize,

  • 10:15

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: to establish categories, first of all, of types of things,of types of people, or types of activitiesdepending on the particular research question.And then, analytical categories in terms of themes.And what are these?Are types of things.How do the categories relate in an analytical sequence?And what I'd like to refer to now

  • 10:36

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: is a diagram so we can see an example of whatthis looks like where you have these types of categories.For example, types of participants.So the organization, the sponsors,then the social movement itself, which was a larger groupaffiliated with gaucho culture, but they may notbe a member of the organization itself.

  • 10:58

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: So these are the kinds of categories.And that precedes over time.It's iterative.It's important also to keep in mind the research questions,and to bring this data to bear and to analyze itin a way that addresses those research questions.As our work evolved and we realized this group--it's a consumer culture, but it also

  • 11:20

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: has some formal organization.So from organization theory, you'vegot principles of organization, of a mission statement.What type of a structure is set up?What kind of governance activities are involved?And so a lot of the analytical categories, as we see,they come from the data.But then they also come from the literature.

  • 11:49

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: Developing what you learn out of an ethnographic study.A lot of times that involves grounded theory in the sensethat you're developing these analytical categoriesfrom the data trying to answer your research questions.And that typically can change over time.So in trying to take the categories--I mentioned an example of that would be types of people.

  • 12:10

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: And so here with the gaucho, we haveleaders of the organization.We have participants in the organization.There are sponsors.There are people who were involved in making, selling,distributing products.So things like music.Things like barbecue, chimarrao tea, boots,

  • 12:31

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: and gaucho pants, horse tack.There's a whole host of accessories that go with that.And so when Marlon was doing the project initiallyhe was interested in this as a consumer resistance.And it was a consumer resistance in the early stagesof the movement.So I mentioned that it was startedas a student demonstration, really, against globalization.

  • 12:55

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: And over time, that formed a social movement.And it grew into literally hundreds, and then thousands,and tens of thousands, and now up to two million members.And in the course of that, the peoplewho were leaders of that movement organized themself.And they organized chapters.And they organized roles and workedto identify what was authentic in gaucho culture.

  • 13:18

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: And also to keep some dynamism.And I think that's a tension that continues today.So the findings then have to do with addressing and doingjustice to people's perspectives, to the phenomenathat you see in the field.And at the same time, say somethingthat we can learn about how markets work.

  • 13:39

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: Say something about what consumer culture looks like.And here we have an example of a consumer culturethat is quite different from the Harley.Although Harley kind of has an organization, too.Or a group of salsa dancers that dances all over the world.Just compare that type of a social structure,and you start to see that this type of organization

  • 14:01

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: is actually more common than we first thought.So because a lot of the work in the literaturehas emphasized social movements, now we look.And when you look at most social movements,you're going to see multiple organizations.Not in the typical commercial organization context.Perhaps somewhat more similar to a non-profit.

  • 14:21

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: Not exactly like a labor organization.So there's different kinds of organizations.So part of the findings, then, talkabout how this looks as a consumer cultural organization.Another part of the findings looksat the relation between the organizationand the social movement.How do organizations form within a social movement?

  • 14:41

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: How does an organization maintain a rapport, a relationwith a social movement?If the organization doesn't stay embeddedwith the social movement, it runsthe risk of becoming irrelevant or being rejected.And that is actually really interestingwhen we start to think about market forms of organization.Firms increasingly are recognizing a vulnerability

  • 15:07

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: to consumer culture formations, that therecan be a resistance and even a hijacking of brands.And so the kind of tension between a social movement,a social formation that is a consumer culture,and the market side of that then becomes really,I think, a key piece of this finding.And that's really I think one of the biggest joys and one

  • 15:28

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: of the biggest challenges of doing researchbecause when you start out, you don't really know what this is.You could say, OK, well, I can see that thisis a group that gets together.They have reenactments.They want to keep their culture.They're concerned about what's going on in Brazil.And they want to be able to socialize

  • 15:49

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: each other into community values,into things that matter for them.And that consumer culture becomes the waythat they do that.And that's quite similar in some ways to other consumer cultureswhere people have very strong feelings about brands.They have very strong feelings of communitythat that brand may participate in.It may not necessarily be the center,

  • 16:09

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: but it becomes a piece of it.So those are the kinds of circlesthat I'll say where research is in a dialoguewith the literature.It's in a dialogue with the field side.And so it's up to the research to kind of bringthose two together.One of the things that's also nice in a project like thisis to work in a team.

  • 16:29

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: And a lot of the work that I've done, I've done individually.So it's been a pleasure working with Marlon.He brings a perspective.Because he's Brazilian, because this is where he's from,I see this through new eyes, and getto have conversations with him.And I see things that I don't understand that I can ask him,and that also we can ask certainly

  • 16:50

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: other people within the culture.And what's important to emphasizewith ethnography is really working to gain understandingof that culture and to appreciatepeople's perspectives, and their interest,and how they're situated in the world.And that's also a challenge.The bigger the distance between a researcher

  • 17:11

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: and that field site, the greater the challenge.But that can also be a gift.And what I've found is when you reallywant to understand something thatis very important to people and they appreciate where you'recoming from, that they really take a pride and a pleasurein explaining what they're doing.

  • 17:39

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: You want to train yourself to see the unfamiliar in what'sfamiliar and vise versa.To look at things that may be strange and see howthat relates to other things.And in this case, being the fieldof consumer behavior, consumption studies, or marketstudies.Other tools certainly.

  • 17:59

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: Listening, getting to know people,appreciating where they're coming from,looking at consumption as a collective.And that's one of the things that the consumer culturetheory--I'm a the part of the consumer culture studies group--looks at.So we focus on things like ethnic communities, brandcommunities, groups of people who

  • 18:20

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: are interested in a certain activity,be that surfing, or salsa dancing, or whatever.So those kinds of tools.Photography certainly is an important tool.It's true, a picture is worth a thousand words.And there's only so much detail that we can remember.Video.And inviting people within that cultureto share their visuals, their films, their web

  • 18:44

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: pages, the kinds of posts that they do.A variation of ethnography is online, so netnography.And that's another way where the kindsof online spaces and online communitiesreally lend themselves to these kinds of techniques.It's an interpretive analysis.And so learning about symbols and how they convey meaning.

  • 19:07

    LISA PENALOZA [continued]: The structure of symbols.Semiotics is another tool that I would add to that kit.


Lisa Peñaloza, a Professor of Marketing at KEDGE Business School in Bordeaux, in France, discusses ethnography and qualitative methods as they pertain to her research of Brazilian gauchos.

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Researching Brazilian Gaucho Consumption Culture Using Ethnographic Methods

Lisa Peñaloza, a Professor of Marketing at KEDGE Business School in Bordeaux, in France, discusses ethnography and qualitative methods as they pertain to her research of Brazilian gauchos.

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