Marketing Death: Culture and the Making of a Life Insurance Market in China

Cheris Shun-Ching Chan

Anno: 2012
Rilegatura: Hardback
Pagine: 304 p.
Testo in English
Dimensioni: 243 x 161 mm
Peso: 578 gr.
  • EAN: 9780195394078
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When the topic of death is a taboo subject to a population, how can life insurance companies create a market for their business? In Marketing Death, Cheris Shun-ching Chan examines the development of the life insurance market in China to address how culture impacts economic practice. Based on an extensive ethnographic study of various life insurance companies in China, Chan found a clear disparity in the way transnational and domestic life insurers dealt with local resistance to the idea of insuring against early death. While the transnational insurers attempted to remove this resistance by introducing new concepts about risk management, the locally-founded insurers redefined these concepts as money management to avoid the taboo subject. The domestic players' strategies proved to be more effective, but conflicted with the profit-oriented institutional logic of life insurance in the Chinese context. Having learned a lesson from significant losses, the domestic insurers eventually collaborated with their transnational counterparts to create a risk-management market. Nonetheless, local potential buyers, with their ingrained cultural values, continue to negotiate with insurance providers about their preferred product features. Chan argues that the life insurance business is growing rapidly in China despite these incompatible local cultural values largely because insurance practitioners strategically mobilized the local cultural tool-kit to circumvent the resistance. In Chan's account, the interplay of two forms of culture-a shared meaning system on one hand and a repertoire of strategies on the other-has significantly shaped the trajectory of the emergent Chinese market. Marketing Death is the first book to offer an analysis of the emergence of a life insurance market outside of the Euro-American context. It documents the processes and politics by which local cultures shape the way a market is formed and, hence, sheds light on the dynamics through which modern capitalist enterprises diffuse to regions with different cultural traditions.