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One study asked young people in the United States and the Netherlands to write essays about what is "cool" and "uncool" and to create visual collages that represent what it means to be cool. The researchers found that cool has multiple meanings to kids in these two cultures. Some of the common dimensions include having charisma, being in control, and being a bit aloof. Many of the respondents also agreed that being cool is a moving target: The harder you try to be cool, the more uncool you are! Here are some of their actual responses:

  • "Cool means being relaxed, to nonchalantly be the boss of every situation, and to radiate that" (Dutch female)

  • "Cool is the perception from others that you've got 'something' which is macho, trendy, hip, etc." (Dutch male)

  • "Cool has something standoffish, and at the same time, attractive" (Dutch male)

  • "Being different. but not too different. Doing your own thing, and standing out, without looking desperate while you're doing it" (American male)

  • "When you are sitting on a terrace in summer, you see those machos walk by, you know, with their mobile [phones] and their sunglasses. I always think. 'Oh please, come back to earth!' These guys only want to impress. That is just so uncool" (Dutch female)

  • "When a person thinks he is cool, he is absolutely uncool" (Dutch female)

  • "To be cool we have to make sure we measure up to it. We have to create an identity for ourselves that mirrors what we see in magazines, on TV, and with what we hear on our stereos" (American male)

Replicate this study in your area. Recruit a group of teenagers to construct individual collages that represent what they feel is "cool." Analyze their choices what patterns do you see?


The chapter discussed the dramatic changes in family structure today. The reality is that many other types of families continue to grow rapidly as well. Indeed, some experts argue that as traditional family living arrangements wane, we place even greater emphasis on siblings, close friends, and other relatives who provide companionship and social support. 106 Some people join intentional families, groups of unrelated people who meet regularly for meals and who spend holidays together. Indeed, for some the act of meeting together to consume homemade food plays a central role in defining family: It is a symbolic way to separate a family unit from other social groups by allowing the to personalize the meal and express affection via the effort that went into preparing the feast. What evidence do you find of the impact of nontraditional family structures? How will these alternative lifestyles change the way we think about consumer behavior?


Answered 1 year ago
Answered 1 year ago
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This exercise focuses on our understanding of changes in the family structures. For example, we are given an instance of intentional families where people who are not related gather for meals and quality time.

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