A New Passage to India: Tapping into the Indian American Market and Beyond

  • Vinu Simon

Student thesis: Doctor of Business Administration


The Indo-American ethnic identity remains an avenue of exploration for marketing scholars. Indo-Americans have been largely considered to be a homogenous group of model immigrants of high socioeconomic status, which oversimplifies and overlooks the diverse nature of beliefs, cultures, sexual identities and values held by Indo-Americans. In this research, the nature of the ethnic identity, and how Indo-Americans construct, maintain and transmit their ethnic identity, was studied through the of life story narratives of a diverse group of Indo-American research participants. This research also studied the role that consumption played in how Indo-American ethnic identity was constructed and transmitted. Furthermore, this research investigates and studies the nature of individualism in Indo-Americans, and the American identities of Indo-Americans as well. Finally, this research also explored the nature of the various boundaries that exist between Indo-Americans and how these boundaries construct various Indo-American sub-groups. This research employed a qualitative anti-realist and anti-essentialist methodology and included 66 Indo-Americans with a diverse range of religious beliefs, sexual identities, ages, sexes, marital statuses, immigrant generations, and origins across India, living in different parts of America. It also included minority and marginalised Indo-American groups that have been neglected in Indo-American ethnic identity research such as LGBTQ Indo-Americans. The theories of ethnicity have evolved over time, and in this research, the Indo-American ethnic identity of research participants was studied through multiple theoretical paradigms and was conducted through an interdisciplinary academic perspective that is atypical in how Indo-American ethnic identity has previously been studied. The theoretical paradigms used in this research analyse the Indo-American ethnic identity of research participants included the primordialist, instrumentalist, constructionist, materialist, post-modern and political systems perspective of ethnicity. The role of Indian philosophical systems in the construction, maintenance and transmission of the ethnic identity of my participants was also studied. This research suggests that the Indo-American ethnic identity of my research participants was a type of amalgamated racial-religious identity, and discusses and questions from a marketing perspective if at all any meaningful “essences” constitute or define the Indo-American ethnic identity, and suggests that the Indo-American ethnic identity may not be useful for marketing scholars to gain deeper knowledge about Indo-Americans as “consumers”.
Date of Award1 Aug 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorTerry Newholm (Supervisor), John Byrom (Supervisor) & Dominic Medway (Supervisor)


  • Indian Philosophy
  • Lesbian Indians
  • Gay Indians
  • Indian LGBTQ
  • consumption
  • ethnic identity
  • ethnicity
  • Asian Indian Americans
  • Indo-Americans
  • Indian Americans
  • consumer behavior

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