Past events

2013 -2014

November 1st, 2013
Subtle Faces of Discrimination: An Exploratory Study of Microaggressions in the Marketplace
Akon Ekpo, Department of Marketing, Western Michigan University, Geraldine Henderson, Department of Supply Chain Management and Marketing Services, Rutgers University, Benet DeBerry Spence, Department of Managerial Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago

Recent calls for studies on marketplace diversity and inclusion highlights the importance of understanding issues that affect consumers that are marginalized. While the prevalence of marketplace discrimination has been studied in the marketing literature, there is a paucity of research that investigates how the nature of this treatment shapes the consumption experience. In this presentation, Akon described her (and her co-authors') phenomenological inquiry of the lived experiences of marginalized consumers, utilizing depth interviews and online discussion threads. Her findings point to the growing subtlety in which discrimination is enacted, and how its cumulative effects shape their consumption practices.

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December 6th, 2012
Becoming A Derby Grrrl: Marketplace Perforativities and the Normalization of Gender Transgression
Craig Thompson, Department of Marketing, Wisconsin School of Business, Tuba Ustuner, Department of Marketing, Colorado State University

Few marketplace performativities exemplify the theatrically subversive aspects of gender performativity more than that of the Roller Derby grrrl (Pavidilis 2012) battling around a flat track outfitted in everything from fishnet stockings to piercings and tattoos; and brandishing an ironically named persona invoking a blend of sexual provocativeness and physical aggression. For this C4 event, Craig Thompson discussed his analysis of these performativities (developed with co-author Tuba Ustuner). Their work seeks to advance a long stream of gender-oriented consumption research by analyzing the interrelationships between everyday gender performativities— where a gamut of social and institutional forces encourage consumers to reiterate prevailing or conventional gender norms—and skilled marketplace performances whose script directly incorporates transgressive gender performativities as part of its experiential appeal.The roller derby case allows a closer consideration than before of how a tribal identity, particularly one that incorporates transgressive aspects, is shaped by the marketplace demands that accrue from performing for a paying audience and engaging in other promotional activities aimed at building a local fan base and garnering local business sponsorships.

Craig was selected as our annual "drive-in" speaker--someone who does not live in the Chicago area but who lives within a reasonable driving distance and whose travel expenses are paid by our generous sponsors. Thanks to Alan Malter and his committee (Ashlee Humphreys and Michelle Weinberger) for choosing this year's speaker!


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February 7th, 2014
Media Consumption In A Transmedia World
Behice E. Ilhan, Purdue University, Robert Kozinets, Marketing Area, York University, Cele Otnes, Department of Business Administration, University of Illinois

Media advances over the last four decades, such as cable, social, and mobile, have transformed mediascapes and consumer practices. Our understanding of media consumption experiences in consumer research is due for an upgrade. In this presentation, Ece outlined framework for studying this more dynamic, complex, and multidimensional environment. She began with an emphasis on transmedia consumption experiences and inductively theorize from her primary netnographic fieldsite: the Lost wiki. Research questions that guided her discussion were: (1) How has transmedia and media consumption transformed?, (2) How can we rigorously theorize these changes?, and (3) What are their implications for our general understanding of media and consumption in contemporary consumer culture?

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March 7th, 2014
Can't Buy Me Love? Personal Advertising and the Intersection of Romance with Science and Commerce
Pamela Quiroz, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago

For this presentation and discussion, Pamela discussed her recent research on how modern society in general and electronic commerce in particular has affected the way people present and promote themselves for the purpose of securing romantic relationships. Her work includes a forthcoming chapter (in Dynamics and Interconnections in Popular Culture) on the evolution of personal advertising from "mail-order brides" to "just lunch" and "speed dating," as well as a 2013 article (in Humanity and Society) on social-media dating applications like Skout and Zoosk. Her book Personal Advertising: Dating, Mating, and Relating in Modern Society, is under contract with McFarland.

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April 4th, 2013
Regimes of Valuation in Collaborative Redistribution
Zeynep Arsel, Zeynep Arsel, Department of Marketing, Concordia University

For this presentation, Zeynep discussed regimes of valuation in the context of used goods exchange. Her data is a longitudinal multi-sited ethnography of a range of collaborative redistribution systems such as barter networks and the Freecycle. She showed that participants of these systems experience value creation through six interrelated regimes. With this framework, she expanded the ontology of value away from the dualist utilitarian/hedonic dimensions and contextualize into the social. She showed how her findings enable institutions that mediate these practices to offer better value propositions. Lastly, she argued that marketers need to provide better governance mechanisms for the risks arising from unique constitutions of such exchange systems.

Zeynep 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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May 2nd, 2013
From Killing Fields to Consumer Society
Clifford J. Shultz, Department of Marketing, Loyola University

Cambodia is a country that has endured unconscionable suffering, which had and still has profound implications for consumers. More than 30 years since the ouster of the Khmer Rouge and 20 years following a UN-brokered peace accord, many scholars and policy wonks wonder if Cambodia will ever fully recover. But what would recovery look like in a world that has marched on? Is it possible to affect a transition from killing fields to consumer society, and if that transition is possible, what institutions, policies, practices and behaviors are required? Sharing findings from multiple methods used in a longitudinal study, now in its twentieth year, this presentation explored some possible answers to those questions while more broadly shedding light on Cambodia’s ongoing recovery from genocide. The presentation included a brief historical introduction; evolving conceptual models of transition from genocide and authoritarian Maoism, to market-oriented economy; the roles particular sectors and the policies, consumers, investors and marketers that must converge to affect a fledgling consumer culture; and finally, implications for long-term consumer well-being, and the opportunities and challenges still before Cambodians and the rest of us.