What is consumer culture research and consumer culture theory (CCT)?
Research on consumer culture examines consumer behavior from a social and/or cultural perspective. Consumer culture theory (CCT) is a prominent theoretical and methodological orientation toward research on consumer culture. CCT research is practiced primarily by students and faculty who are associated with marketing departments at business schools, as well as with departments that focus on fields that are related to marketing, such as advertising or retailing. Among business-school researchers, consumer culture research and consumer culture theory (CCT) is often contrasted with research that examines consumer behavior from a psychological and/or economic perspective. Consumer culture research also includes research done by practitioners (for example, anthropologists employed by companies) as well as by those in academic disciplines such as history, sociology, and anthropology. For more information on consumer culture theory (CCT), visit the Wikipedia entry on CCT or get a copy of this article from the Journal of Consumer Research.

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What is The Chicago Consumer Culture Community (C4)?
C4 is a relatively informal community of people who are interested in consumer culture. The community includes professors, graduate students and practitioners. A majority of community members are from the greater Midwest area, and are associated with Midwestern business schools.

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What are C4's main activites?
Each year, C4 sponsors and holds 6 discussion sessions, which focus on topics relating to consumer culture. There is no fee for attending these events. A majority of C4 discussion sessions are led by a researcher who presents a current or recent research project. C4 welcomes presentations of works in progress. With a few exceptions, C4 provides a light lunch at each of our discussion sessions.

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Where can I find this year's schedule of events?
Click on "The Year's Events" above.

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Who can attend C4 events?
C4 events are open to anyone who is interested in attending. Attendees tend to be Chicago-area academics (faculty members and graduate students) but also include visitors from out of town, unaffiliated researchers, non-academic professionals working in the broad area of consumer culture, or other interested members of the public. If you are planning to attend an event, please let us know by email (click here) one week before the event so we can be sure there’s enough food for everyone.

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Is there an email list for announcing C4 events?
Yes. If you would like to be automatically notified of upcoming events, let us know by email (click here), and we’ll be happy to add you to the C4 emailing list. We send an average of 1 email per month. C4 does not share its email list with any other organization, and the mailing list is used for C4 business only.

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Can I present at a C4 event?
Yes! We ask for volunteers once or twice a year and when more than one person is interested in presenting on a particular date, we randomly select. To receive our emails (including those asking for volunteer speakers), see the instructions above for joining our email list.

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Does C4 feature only Chicago-area speakers?
Although many of our speakers are from the Chicago area, we frequently have volunteer speakers from the greater Midwest area, and we occasionally have volunteer speakers from outside the Midwest whose travel plans are already bringing them to Chicago. Also, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we invite one speaker a year from outside the greater Midwest area. We call this person our "fly-in speaker," and he or she is selected each year by vote of those who are on the C4 mailing list. Our sponsors also allow us to fund a visit from a speaker in the greater Midwest area. We call this person our "drive-in speaker," and he or she is selected by a committee made up of C4 community members. For a look at who has given a C4 presentation in the past, click on "Past Events" above and to the right.

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When are the C4 events?
C4 events are held from 12:00 – 1:30 PM and you can find this year's schedule by clicking "The Year's Events" above. A light lunch is served at each event.

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Where do the C4 events take place?
C4 events are held in downtown Chicago at the Marketing Department, DePaul Center, 1 East Jackson Blvd. (at the corner of State and Jackson). DePaul Center is easily accessible by car or public transportation (CTA subway red/blue lines, Jackson station, or “L” lines, Adams/Wabash station).

When you arrive at the building, enter from Jackson and make your way through the Barnes and Noble to the bank of elevators on your left hand side (just past the Barnes & Noble). Take the elevator to the 7th floor. The Department of Marketing is located in 7500, which is at the South end of the floor (follow the signs). Occasionally events are in a nearby room, but someone in the marketing department will always be able to tell you where the event is taking place.

Frequently Asked Questions