1st Edition

Market Detachment Breaking Social Ties in Economic Settings

Edited By Helene Brembeck, Franck Cochoy, Gay Hawkins Copyright 2022
    124 Pages
    by Routledge

    124 Pages
    by Routledge

    While the dynamics of market attachments have been extensively analyzed, the implied other to this – market detachments – have not. This book addresses this imbalance and investigates economies of detachment or the processes whereby various elements or relations in markets are removed or severed.

    Market organizations and dynamics involve myriad processes of attachment – good and bad. Recent work within the new economic sociology has documented how the arts of attachment are implicated in the technical, organizational and social functions of markets. This work highlights the complexities of market attachments as both material links and subjective or affective ties. It also foregrounds attachment as a variable relation, often dependent on its implied other: detachment. However, while the first term of this relation is relatively well known, the second is seriously under-researched and deserves far more attention. Key questions explored are: what is detachment; how does it work and what are the theoretical underpinnings and implications of this concept? How do practices and strategies of detachment configure and ‘re-agence’ markets? How do markets provoke attitudes and dispositions of detachment? How do detachment strategies become qualified as political and with what consequences?

    The authors in this unique collection explore these questions using an array of empirical cases ranging from fast fashion to food supply chains, energy savings schemes to unpackaged food. Working across economic sociology, science and technology studies (STS), cultural studies, politics and consumer research they highlight the complexities, significance and impacts of ‘letting go’ in market configurations.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal, Consumption, Markets & Culture.

    Introduction – Letting go: economies of detachment

    Helene Brembeck, Franck Cochoy and Gay Hawkins

    1. Allowing for detachment processes in market innovation. The case of short food supply chains

    Ronan Le Velly, Frédéric Goulet and Dominique Vinck

    2. Market research as ascetic detachment: product testing in a German market test town

    Stefan Schwarzkopf

    3. Fashionable detachments: wardrobes, bodies and the desire to let go

    Elias Mellander and Magdalena Petersson McIntyre

    4. Minimalism and lightweight backpacking in France: a material culture of detachment

    Eric Boutroy

    5. Detachment as a privilege: industry participation at TV programming and distribution marketplaces

    Guillaume Favre and Julien Brailly

    6. Can energy savings certificates help in boiler scrappage programs? Exploring the market agencing of a detachment policy

    Alexandre Mallard

    7. Detaching from plastic packaging: reconfiguring material responsibilities

    Gay Hawkins


    Helene Brembeck is Senior Professor in Ethnology, and previous Director of the Center for Consumer Science at Gothenburg Research Institute at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her research areas are aspects of consumer culture and consumption from a cultural perspective. She has been a project manager of several large projects and published extensively in this field. Among other things, she was Editor of the special issue of Consumption, Markets & Culture, "Moving Consumption" together with Franck Cochoy and Johanna Moisander (2014) and contributed to the anthology Overwhelmed by Overflows? edited by Barbara Czarniawska and Orvar Löfgren (2019).

    Franck Cochoy is Professor of Sociology at Toulouse Jean Jaurès University, France, a researcher at the LISST-CNRS, and Senior Fellow of the Institut Universitaire de France. He works in the field of Economic Sociology, with a focus on market devices. He has conducted several projects and case studies in such areas as the role of marketing, packaging, self-service, trade press and so on. His most recent articles in English have appeared in Journal of the Association for Consumer Research; Marketing Theory; Science, Technology & Human Values.

    Gay Hawkins is Research Professor in Social and Cultural Theory at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University, Australia. She researches in the areas of markets and materialities, cultures of waste with a particular focus on plastics and more than human politics. She has conducted several research projects into waste economies, the political history of plastic packaging and the rise of bottled water markets. Recent books include Plastic Water: The Social and Material Life of Bottled Water (co-authored with Kane Race and Emily Potter, 2015). Recent papers have been published in Journal of Cultural Economy; Science, Technology and Human Values and Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space.