The bibliography that follows is a comprehensive listing of journal articles, books, and theses that treat advertising from a social scientific or humanistic perspective. The full bibliography contains 2004 items. It was compiled from various sources, including 24 electronic research databases. Most items were published between 1980 and the present. Approximately 130 additional entries dating from the 1970s are also included because this was the decade when academic investigations of race and gender and their relationship to advertising began in earnest.
The selection criteria were straightforward. Essays and articles that dealt with the business end of advertising were excluded (following the general editorial policy of this journal). Otherwise, we attempted to include all scholarly approaches to advertising. A decision to include an article or book was based on its title as well as on any abstracts that were available in the 24 online databases we consulted. During the compilation of the bibliography, a list of general topical headings was generated and forms an editorial summary of issues and themes that scholars have addressed over the past two decades.
This list is provided below under the heading "Topics." Each topic is explained in a hypertext note and contains a link to a sub-bibliography (drawn from the full bibliography) that lists items we have identified as pertaining to that topic. For example, the heading Psychology, Cognition, Personality includes articles, books, and theses that focus on psychological theories applied to advertising; reader-response and recall studies of advertising; analysis of advertising from the standpoint of cognitive theories; and analyses of the influence of advertising on personality development. The bibliography contained under that heading contains the items we identified as pertaining to these topics.
Users of the bibliography are cautioned not to depend on a single subject heading but rather to consult all those topics that might conceivably be related to their topic(s) of interest. For example, the topic "snack-food consumption and its possible relation to advertising that runs during television programs directed to children" ought to be researched in several sub-bibliographies: Children, Food and Nutrition, Health, and Television.
There are 33 specific "Topics" categories and an additional 67 "Countries and Geographic Regions." The large number of geographic regions is included because it was easy to be highly specific since some articles are limited to one or a few countries. This list will be helpful to those working on advertising and society in other national or comparative contexts.
A note of caution to users is in order. The topics, either substantive or geographic, should not be construed as the final word on what a given article has to say. Rather, the bibliographies are intended as starting points for scholars of advertising. When a user has identified and located articles of interest, he or she should use the references cited in each article as bases for wider searches. This is especially important for researchers who want to include scholarship published before the 1980s. More recent publications can lead them to the earlier sources. Similarly, for more recent publications, especially those appearing since the beginning of the year 2000, researchers are strongly advised to consult current databases. The list of databases that follows the bibliography are ones that we have found to be especially helpful in the area of advertising and society.
William M. O'Barr