Past events

2011 -2012

September 9th, 2011
Demystifying the Review Process at JCR
Mary-Ann Twist, Managing Editor, Jounral of Consumer Research

For this event, Mary-Ann focused on the editorial procedures at the Journal of Consumer Research, and addressed “everything you’ve always wanted to know about JCR but were afraid to ask the editor.”

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October 7th, 2011
The Maker and Hackerspace Movement
Christopher Bodel, Jordan Bunker, Jim Burke, Kadi Sistak, Electromagnate

The Electromagnate team joinined us to discuss a documentary they've been working on called "ReMade: The Rebirth of the Maker Movement." This film examines communities called "hackerspaces"—open laboratories where people with common interests can share knowledge and make things. For an example of a local hackerspace community, visit the folks at Pumping Station: One. The Electromagnate team shared their experiences making the documentary and interacting with those in the "maker movement." They also discussed their impressions of the movement, which raised interesting new questions about marketplace innovation, consumer communities, and the sometimes fuzzy distinction between consumer and producer.

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November 4th, 2011
What Does Green Mean? Professional and Working Class Views of Sustainable Consumption
Ashley Heyer and Ashlee Humphreys, Integrated Marketing Communications Department, Northwestern University

Environmentalism, sustainability, or "green" consumption has become a central trend in the United States in the last ten years as consumers have become increasingly aware of the ecological implications of marketplace decisions. And yet, most marketing communications surrounding sustainability target professional-class consumers, drawing from frames that appeal to those with high cultural capital such as authenticity, naturalism, and cosmopolitanism. How do consumers in the working class perceive sustainability? To investigate this question, Ashley and Ashlee presented results from their qualitative study, which explores consumer attitudes toward sustainable consumption in order to understand how these views differ by class. Results of depth interviews and an accompanying Q-sort task revealed that consumers from the professional class tend to view sustainable consumption on a systemic level and focus on conditions of production while working class consumers tend to view sustainable consumption concretely and focus on conditions of consumption. They also discussed their interpretation of these findings in light of previous research in political and cultural sociology. While professionals used discourses from the civic and marketplace regimes of justification, working class consumers used discourses from the domestic regime of justification.

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December 2nd, 2011
Consuming Authentic Ancestry: Personal Genomics, Genetic-Ethnic Identities, and the Co-Creation of Genetic Return
Elonda Clay, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

For this presentation, Elonda discussed the concept of genetic return (Zoloth 2003), which relates four key features: “lost” tribal identity, the use of genetic knowledge as proof of ancestry, a yearning for reconciliation from diaspora, and return to an ancestral homeland. Utopian ideals of roots, reconciliation, race, and community are often expressed by diasporic groups through these narratives of ancestry and genetic relatedness (Parfitt 2006, Basu 2007, Nash 2008, and Nelson 2008). Elonda’s presentation also focused on marketplace manifestations of genetic return. While consumers strategically use genomic services to re-imagine and construct personal and communal identities, DTC (direct-to-consumer) personal genome companies and news media often appropriate genetic return narratives in the marketing of their products. This co-creation of genetic return informs both the building of brand communities associated with specific personal genomic companies or projects, as well as the building of virtual genetic communities or biosocialities (Rabinow 1992) organized around ancestry informative markers.

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February 3rd, 2012
The Garden or the Machine? Digging Up the Yard
Elizabeth Hirschman, Department of Marketing, Rutgers Business School

For this presentation, Beth discussed a project that is in development, and which she is co-authoring with Ayalla Ruvio at Temple University and Russel Belk at the Schulich School of Business. It began as an interpretive study of the relationship between consumers and their yards. Using the western ideological motifs of utilitarianism and romanticism as their primary interpretive structure, Beth and her colleagues were aiming toward a “warm-and-fuzzy happy ending in which our homeowners decide to embrace a more ecologically friendly focus for their yards (e.g., reducing dependence on pesticides).” However, once they began reading through the interviews, they came into contact with some much deeper currents of cultural thought, which took them all the way back to ancient Sumer and the first known human written narrative.

Beth was selected as our annual "fly-in" speaker--someone who does not live within driving distance of Chicago and whose travel expenses are paid by our generous sponsors. As is true every year, nominations and voting for the "fly in" speaker were open to everyone on the C4 mailing list. Thanks to all who participated!

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March 2nd, 2012
Cognitive and Emotional Processes within Brand Communities and their Impact on Brand Support and Loyalty
Melanie Zaglia, Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, University of Innsbruck and Marketing Department (visiting) University of Michigan

Building on an affect theory of social exchange and a decade of brand community research, Melanie presented research that describes and tests the effect of cognitive and emotional processes within brand communities on members’ behavior. Her study investigated three samples of two independent brand communities for brand owners and non-owners. Her results demonstrated the importance of social exchanges between brand enthusiasts, their identification with the community, and its impact on members’ brand feelings and behavior. Contrary to prior findings, brand communities turn out to be a successful tool for customer retention and new customer acquisition.

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May 4th, 2012
Shopseeking: Coping with Offline Discrimination Online
Geraldine Henderson, Department of Supply Chain Management and Marketing Sciences, Rutgers University, Akon Ekpo Marketing Department, University of Illinois at Chicago, Amber Chenevert, Department of Advertising, University of Texas at Austin

In our modern society, consumers report discrimination based on many factors as well as the ways they have dealt with those marginalizing experiences. Yet, extant literature has focused its discussion on racial and ethnic discrimination within the physical service/retail environment. Though the injustices these consumers have faced are incredibly real, this limited focus obscures the reality of unequal, hierarchical, power relations between and within different consumer groups, which calls for a broader perspective of how we view marginalizing experiences. Furthermore, with the growing ubiquity of information technology and wide acceptance of its use, consumers have a broader range of options in dealing with marginalizing experiences in the marketplace. How do consumers evaluate marginalizing shopping experiences? And, how does their evaluation shape the coping strategies they perceive to be available to them? To investigate these questions, Akon Ekpo presented results from the qualitative study she implemented with her colleagues, which explores consumers’ lived experience of marginalization in the marketplace. While her presentation focused in part on racial- and ethnicity-based discrimination, her work also explored a broader range of discrimination that considers gender, age, physical appearance, sexuality, and religion, in order to illuminate modern day consumer shopping and service-oriented experiences.