1st Edition

Configuring the Field of Character and Entertainment Licensing The Licensing Expo and Other Sites of IP Management

By Avi Santo Copyright 2023
    282 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the creative impact of licensing on the entertainment industry, how licensing practitioners’ occupational disposition is formed, and the role licensing professionals play in managing the circulation of intellectual property.

    Offering a study of the spatial logics and fantasies employed by the licensing field via its annual trade show, the Licensing Expo, this volume investigates how space and place are instrumental in both fortifying and exposing the political-economic, infrastructural, as well as ideological structures that constrain and enable participation in the licensing field. Further supplemented by participant observation and interviews with 23 industry professionals, the book explores how the licensing field understands its increasingly central role in the entertainment industry’s operations, and how it responds to changes in retail environments, digital platforms, and international markets, phenomena which have required a recalibration of the field’s occupational identity.

    An exploration of an understudied aspect of the entertainment industry, this book will primarily appeal to scholars within media studies, and those studying media industries, media franchises, and media work cultures. It will also be of interest to people studying consumer culture, brand culture, advertising, organizational communication, as well as fan cultures.

    1. From Skill to Occupational Identity: The Function of Place in the Formation of the Licensing Field;  2. Going to Vegas: Licensing Heterotopias and other Field Lessons;  3. Licensing’s Adjacency and Other Lessons They Won’t Teach You at School (But You will Learn at Licensing University®);  4. Licensing Expo Floor Plans: Mapping the Field’s Pathways and Power Plays;  5. Hanging Out in Mickey’s Joint: The Role of Booth Design in Shaping Brandom in the Licensing Field;  6. Retail Tales: The Role of Shop Talk in Telling Brand Stories through Consumer Products;  7. The Digital Frontier: The Potential (and) Perils of Online Platforms and Virtual Merchandise;  8. Going Global (Vegas Style): Lessons in International Licensing;  9. Coda: How COVID-19 Has (and Has Not) Changed the Licensing Field


    Avi Santo is Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA.