Date of Submission

Fall 2020

Academic Program

Economics; Global and International Studies

Project Advisor 1

Robert Culp

Project Advisor 2

Sanjaya DeSilva

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The Chinese skincare market distinguishes itself with an inelastic consumer demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. This project employs the endogenous preferences economic framework and a sociohistorical lens to analyze the social forces that sustain the resilient beauty market. Through setting up a socially embedded framework for economic analysis, this project highlights the active role of marketers, which are omitted in mainstream economics, in fostering a bond between consumers and skincare products. With a comparative analysis of both the colonial and the COVID-19 pandemic contexts, this project demonstrates how marketers connect consumers to skincare products through reference to the system of social values and priorities that are inscribed in that historical context ­– the color hierarchy in the colonial period and the reviving emphasis on health and hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, this project unfolds innovative ways that marketers leverage to cultivate and perpetuate a consistent consumption pattern for goods that resonate with certain desirable habitus ­related to race, gender, and class ideologies.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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