10th June 2015

Consumption Markets & Culture Best Paper award, 2014

Consumption Markets & Culture is pleased to announce its Best Paper award for articles published in 2014. They will be available free, for a limited time, on the journal’s website: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/gcmc20/current

Best Papers:

Nicholas Carah (2014) Brand value: how affective labour helps create brands, Consumption Markets & Culture, 17:4, 346-366. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10253866.2013.847435

One way brands create value is by engaging the capacity of cultural labourers to animate affective connections with consumers. Brands assemble social spaces that harness the communicative capacities of cultural actors. A mode of branding that works by managing an open-ended social process depends on affective labour. Affective labour involves not only the capacity of individuals to produce specific meanings and feelings, but also the open-endedly social capacity to stimulate and channel attention and recognition. This affective labour does not always depend on making particular “authentic” representations, but on facilitating a general circulation of meaning. By investing in social spaces and relations corporate brands engage popular musicians in new forms of labour. This article examines the participation of popular musicians in branding programmes run in Australia by corporate brands between 2005 and 2010. I examine the accounts of musicians and managers who participate in these programmes to consider how they make their participation in social relations that create brand value meaningful. They employ a variety of practices: identifying with brands, endorsing brands’ claims of socially responsible investment in culture, and distancing themselves from their own participation in branded space.

Andrew Higson (2014) Nostalgia is not what it used to be: heritage films, nostalgia websites and contemporary consumers, Consumption Markets & Culture, 17:2, 120-142. DOI: 10.1080/10253866.2013.776305

Nostalgia is not a singular phenomenon; it is multi-layered, diversely experienced and variously exploited, as I demonstrate by briefly outlining the history of nostalgia, especially the recent shift from modern to post-modern versions of the experience. The modern, temporal version of nostalgia is founded on the unattainable distance between the past and the present; the post-modern, atemporal version erases this sense of distance. Central to the modern concept of nostalgia is the experience of wistfulness, a hopeless longing for something lost and irrecoverable. But for post-modern nostalgics, the irrecoverable is now attainable, the difference between past and present flattened out. This is partly because post-modern nostalgia re-cycles images, objects and styles associated with the relatively recent past, a prime site of such re-cycling being the Internet. I therefore look at a range of websites that use nostalgia as a central concept in their marketing and which demonstrate some of these recent shifts in the experience of nostalgia. In the final part of this article, I explore these concerns in relation to the reception of four films about the English, past released in the 2000s: Ladies in Lavender (2004), Becoming Jane (2007), Brideshead Revisited (2008) and An Education (2009). How are films mobilised for nostalgic purposes at the levels of production, marketing and consumption? How is an experience of the past built into these films? Are some of the resulting images, sounds and pasts more resistant to nostalgic uses than others? Are these films discussed by audiences in terms of nostalgia? If so, is this is a positive or negative experience? Ranging in this way across a variety of material, my article is an attempt to bring together cultural history, conceptual, formal analysis and the analysis of reception or consumption.

We also awarded an Honorable Mention:

John W. Schouten (2014) My improbable profession, Consumption Markets & Culture, 17:6, 595-608, DOI: 10.1080/10253866.2013.850676

Consumer ethnographers by virtue of their craft develop levels of knowledge and understanding about people that run deeper than what they report to corporate clients or in the pages of academic journals. It may be knowledge that does not tell a particular brand story or serve a popular theoretical framework, and yet it matters. This story plays in the realm of that surplus understanding. It is a work of fiction. All characters and incidents are the author’s creations.

Janet Borgerson, Institute of Brands and Brand Relationships, Pierre McDonagh, University of Bath, UK, and Detlev Zwick, Schulich School of Business, Canada served as judges for this award.