The collection explores how sentiment and relations are organised in consumer markets. Social studies of economies and markets have much more to offer than simply adding some ‘context’, ‘culture’ or ‘soul’ to the analysis of economic practices. As this collection showcases, studying markets socially reveals how attachments between people and products are engineered and can explain how, and why, they fail. The contributors explore the tools and techniques used to work with sentiment, aesthetics and relationships through strategies including social media marketing, consumer research, algorithmic profiling, personal selling, and call centre and relationship management. The arts of attachment, as the various contributions demonstrate, play a crucial but often misunderstood role in the technical and organisational functioning of markets.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Markets and the Arts of Attachment, (Liz McFall, Franck Cochoy, Joe Deville)
- From Social Ties to Socio-Economic Attachments: A Matter of Selection and Collection, (Franck Cochoy)
- Manufacturing the Consumer’s Truth: The Uses of Consumer Research in Advertising Inquiry, (Tomas Ariztia)
- Marketing and the Domestication of Social Media, (Kevin Mellet)
- Interfacing Attachments: The Multivalence of Brands, (Carolin Gerlitz)
- You are a Star Customer, Please Hold the Line…’: CRM and the Socio-Technical Inscriptions of Market Attachment, (Alexandre Mallard)
- The Market will Have you: The Arts of Market Attachment in a Digital Economy, (Liz McFall and Joe Deville)
- ‘My Story has
noStrings Attached’: Credit Cards, Market Devices and a Stone Guest, (José Ossandón)
- From Market Relations to Romantic Ties: The Tests of Internet Dating, (Emmanuel Kessous)
- (Acquiring Associations: On the Unexpected Social Consequences of Possessive Relations, (Hans Kjellberg)
Afterword: The Devices of Attachment, (Michel Callon)
Franck Cochoy is Professor of Sociology at the University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès and a member of CERTOP-CNRS, France. He works in the field of economic sociology, with a focus on the human and technical mediations that frame the relationship between supply and demand. He has conducted several projects and case studies on such topics as the role of marketing, packaging, self-service, trade press, and so on. He recently published The Limits of Performativity: Politics of the Modern Economy with Liz McFall and Martin Giraudeau (eds.) (Routledge, 2014), On the Origins of Self-Service (Routledge, 2015) and On Curiosity, the Art of Market Seduction (Mattering Press, 2016).
Joe Deville is a Lecturer at Lancaster University, based jointly in the Departments of Organisation, Work & Technology and Sociology. A major focus of his work has been the encounter between defaulting consumer credit debtor and debt collector, which was the subject of his first book Lived Economies of Default, published by Routledge in 2015. Other areas of interest include disaster preparedness, comparative and digital methods, behavioural economics, and theories of money. He is an editor at Journal of Cultural Economy and a co-founder and editor of Mattering Press, an Open Access book publisher, and the online consumer studies research network Charisma.
Liz McFall is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and research lead for Digital Participation at the Open University in the UK. She is currently researching how the convergences surrounding digital disruption and the current global wave of health care reforms are forging new roles for states, insurance markets and marketing. She is author of Devising Consumption: Cultural economies of insurance, credit and spending (Routledge, 2014), Advertising: A cultural economy (2004) and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cultural Econ
"This important collection revisits the vexed question of attachment and how it works in market contexts. Are attachments constraining or sustaining customers? Are they manipulative or emancipatory? Beyond such active/passive dichotomies, the authors use a bold range of tools and cases to show how the attachments between people and their things are orchestrated through sentiment, kinship, technique, devices, bodies, practice and more. Using cases including the Apple Watch, payday lending, internet dating and call centres, the authors reveal the elaborate tricks that markets and their customers play on each other."
- Antoine Hennion, Professor of Sociology, École des Mines de Paris, formerly Director of the Center for Sociology of Innovation (CSI)
"Why do people get attached to products? The authors perceive the arts and devices surrounding human attachment as key drivers of contemporary markets. This inspiring and pioneering book offers multiple explanations full of rich discussions on inquiry and reflexivity, categories and valuation, ties, marketing agendas, digital economy, culture and sentiments, among others. It also provides a wide array of advanced theories and research techniques with detailed empirical results. It pushes the academic frontiers of economics and sociology as from assemblages of agency or dynamic interactions of agents and products. A must-read for researchers and practitioners alike!"
- Tsotumo Nakano, Professor of Organizations, Corporate Strategy and International Management, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo