As the cultural landscapes of countries across the world are becoming increasingly heterogeneous, such constructs as national and ethnic identity can no longer be used as sole or reliable segmentation criteria for consumer research. Multiple ethnic groups co-reside in several countries and exchange cultural and consumption norms with mainstream residents and each other: examples, to name just a few, include Afro-American and Chinese subcultures in the USA; Asian and Polish subcultures in the UK; North African and Congolese subcultures in Belgium and Indo-Pakistani, Iranian and Western subcultures in Arabian Gulf countries. Furthermore, population projections for the USA suggest that by 2050, there will not be a dominant cultural group (Haub 2008; Shrestha 2006), and mixed ethnic groups are reported to be the largest growing population segment in many countries around the world (Clark and Maas 2009; Aspinall 2003). Besides the presence of multiple ethnic groups, global and distinct foreign cultures and lifestyles are concurrently imported into countries through global technology, media and trade channels. The multiplicity of inter-cultural contacts and the complex cultural diversity of contemporary societies provide the impetus for further research around the following key questions: 1. How do multiple cultural influences transform consumer identities?, 2. Which new, multi-cultural consumer identities are emerging and 3. How are these identities expressed through consumption? Anthropologists, psychologists and sociologists have pioneered new approaches to conceptualizing cultures (Berry 2008; Roudometof 2005; Ritzer 2003; Korff 2003). The seminal anthropologist, John Berry, addresses the importance of cross-cultural research to explore cultural transformations of both immigrant and dominant (non-migrant) ethnocultural groups: "I believe that there is no longer any justification for looking at only one side of the intercultural coin in isolation from one another. To continue to do so would produce research that is both invalid and ethnocentric" (Berry 2006 p.732). It is timely for consumer behavior researchers to offer their contributions to the debate in the field.
The proposed track would invite contributions that advance our understanding of the dynamic nature of cultural transformations and better explain and predict how one's self and identity transform under the influence of multiple cultures (Yaprak 2008; Merz et al 2008; Leung et al 2005). Track participants' contributions to the theme will be summarized in a paper reviewing the current state of knowledge on multi-cultural marketplaces and consumer behaviors, proposing new conceptualizations of cultural identities within multi-cultural environments. Participants' submissions that include empirical evidence on the topic may also be used, if relevant and applicable, to develop the conceptual framework. It is hoped that the track discussions will prompt further conceptual and empirical work in several areas, including consumer identities; the consumption behaviors of multi-cultural consumers; self-brand relationships of multi-cultural consumers.