Consumption, Markets and Culture

CFP: symposium and CM&C special issue

Business and Labour History Group, The University of Sydney
Call for Papers for Symposium and Special Issue of Consumption, Markets & Culture

This special issue will focus on a particular objective of Consumption, Markets & Culture as articulated by the editors "to take part in inquiring in and construction of the material conditions and meanings of consumption and production."

Varman and Vikas (2007) in a recent Consumption, Markets & Culture article re-examine consumption as the 'new' definer of identities and individuals (Belk 1988 and Ritzer 2004) and suggest that production(work) still constrains and constructs aspects of the 'consumer-citizen'. "Thus the separation of production and consumption is itself an elitist privilege only to be exercised by a small minority in the globalized world" (p.123).

The intertwined worlds of the worker who is the consumer, the consumer who co-produces, and the pro-sumer need to be revisited in this new borderless market place. In this special issue we wish to focus particularly on Baudrillard's (1998) notion of the dual 'orders' of production and consumption and the evolution of their relationship over time. Thus we seek papers that focus on a historical perspectives/methods to examine the shifts and changes in shaping, constructing the spheres of work and consumption, and of the worker/consumer.

Is the role of markets in creating these identities more than merely a mechanism for translating the individual worker/consumer's preferences into production? If the market is left as the single institution of legitimation in our societies, do other political, social and cultural institutions no longer have the legitimizing authority that they traditionally had? (Firat, Sherry and Venkatesh 1994 p.315).

Papers that examine the way work/production and consumption play out in the dynamic discourses of the marketplace are invited.

Topics for papers could include (but is by no means limited to) historical perspectives/methods focusing on:

  • Nostalgia in Work and Consumption
  • Constructing the worker/consumer/citizen
  • Retail Co-operatives
  • Retailing, distribution and the family
  • Geographies of retailing and distribution
  • Migration, work and consumption
  • Shopping, leisure and work
  • Advertising, work and consuming

Geographically, the Asia -Pacific as a region is of particular focus.

Intending contributors should electronically submit an abstract (1000 words) to the editors by the 21 March 2008 for consideration. Intending contributors are encouraged to participate in a symposium/workshop to be held at the University of Sydney, Australia, on 20 June 2008. Full papers (5,000 -10000 words) will be due on 6 June 2008. The date for submission of the final paper for the consideration of the special issue of Consumption, Markets & Culture (not restricted to symposium participants) will be Friday 18 July 2008.

A limited amount of financial assistance will be available for overseas participants in the symposium/workshop.

The symposium is organised by the Business and Labour History Group, Faculty of Economics and Business, The University of Sydney and we acknowledge the financial support of the Faculty of Economics and Business, The University of Sydney. All enquiries regarding the symposium and the special issue of Consumption, Markets and Culture should be addressed to the editors at either [mailto][/mailto] or [mailto][/mailto]


Baudrillard, Jean. (1998) Consumer Society: myths and Structures. Translated Chris Turner, Sage Publications Ltd: London

Belk Russell W. (1988) 'Possessions and the Extended Self'. Journal of Consumer Research 15: 139-68

Firat, Fuat, John Sherry, and Alladi Venkatesh. (1994). 'Post modernism, marketing and the Consumer'. International Journal of Research in Marketing 11: 311-16.

Ritzer, George. (2004). Enchantment in a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption. Second edition Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge.

Varman, Rohit and Ram Manohar Vikas. (2007). 'Freedom and Consumption: Toward Conceptualizing Systemic Constraints for Subaltern Consumers in a Capitalist Society'. Consumption, Markets and Culture 10: 117-131