15th May 2013

CMC Best Paper Award

Consumption Markets & Culture is pleased to announce its Best Paper award for articles published in 2012.

Antony Beckett (2012): Governing the consumer: technologies of consumption, Consumption Markets & Culture, 15:1, 1-18

One of the recurring themes within commentaries of the cultural economy is the tension between the desire of producers to exercise control over consumers and consumers’ sovereignty. Using Foucault’s notion of Governmentality and drawing on a study of Tesco’s loyalty card programme Clubcard, the paper argues that Tesco represents an important site in the modern cultural economy. “Post-modern” producers like Tesco no longer dichotomise consumer agency and the will to power. Instead, through the mobilisation of the reflexive capacities of both producer and consumer, they seek to frame and extend agency whilst simultaneously attempting to guide how that agency is connected to acts of consumption. It is through technologies of consumption such as Clubcard that agency and consumption are connected and governed.

We also awarded two Honorable Mentions:

Linda Tuncay Zayer, Katherine Sredl, Marie-Agnès Parmentier & Catherine Coleman (2012): Consumption and gender identity in popular media: discourses of domesticity, authenticity, and sexuality, Consumption Markets & Culture, 15:4, 333-357

The goal of this research is to compare contemporary representations of masculinity and femininity in two HBO television series, Entourage and Sex and the City, and illustrate how these representations intersect with consumption. In the analysis, the authors discuss how gender fluidity gives the characters the freedom to be multifaceted in their performances – performances with regard to three emergent themes: domesticity, sexuality, and authenticity. Characters in both programs negotiate the tensions between more traditional gender roles and the assumption of contemporary roles through consumption. The characters find ways to simultaneously re-establish and reinforce their gendered identities as they create new roles, often with the aid of consumption. On the other hand, it is the consumption itself that is sometimes complicit in creating new tensions.

Tanja Schneider & Steve Woolgar (2012): Technologies of ironic revelation:enacting consumers in neuromarkets, Consumption Markets & Culture, 15:2, 169-189

Neuroscience is increasingly considered a possible basis for new business and management practices. A prominent example of this trend is neuromarketing – a relatively new form of market and consumer research that applies neuroscience to marketing by employing brain imaging or measurement technology to anticipate consumers’ response to, for instance, products, packaging or advertising. In this paper, we draw attention to the ways in which certain neuromarketing technologies simultaneously reveal and enact a particular version of the consumer. The revelation is ironic in the sense that it entails the construction of a contrast between what appears to be the case – consumers’ accounts of why they prefer certain products over others – and what can be shown to be the case as a result of the application of the technology – the hidden or concealed truth. This contrast structure characterises much of the academic and popular literature on neuromarketing, and helps explain the distribution of accountability relations associated with assessments of its effectiveness.

They will be available free for a limited time on the journal’s website: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/gcmc20/current

Johanna Moisander, Aalto University, Finland, Jeff Murray, University of Arkansas, USA and Mike Saren, University of Leicester, UK, served as judges for this award.