An article by researchers in the Emerging Consumer Cultures Group (ECCG), Media School, has been selected as one of the ‘Editor’s Choice Collection’ in the Journal of Consumer Culture – a top ranked journal in Cultural Studies and Sociology. The article is highlighted as one of eleven ‘most noteworthy manuscripts’ since the journal launched in 2001 and has been selected alongside the work of internationally esteemed scholars including Daniel Miller, Richard Wilk and Alan Warde.
Dr Rebecca (Becky) Jenkins (Corporate and Marketing Communications, Media School) and ex-Bournemouth colleagues Elizabeth Nixon and Mike Molesworth first presented the paper at the 2010 Consumer Culture Theory Conference in Wisconsin, where it was selected to be published in a special edition of the journal. Several revisions later and the article was published in 2011.
‘“Just normal and homely”: the presence, absence and othering of consumer culture in everyday imagining’ is based on an aspect of Becky’s PhD thesis, which was a larger study of consumption in the everyday imagination. It focuses on the different ways in which consumption features in positive imagined futures. By broadening the methodological framing of existing studies, the study seeks to contextualise consumption in the imagination – exploring how and where consumption may be seen in everyday imagining – a departure from previous research which tends to make consumption the starting point. Focusing on the lived experience of imagining (using phenomenological interviews) the findings reveal that material goods take a back seat to common cultural desires (for instance, successful relationships, happiness and love) with goods often assumed, simply as part of the background. Although goods may take a back seat, consumer culture is shown to be the only real choice when it comes to constructing social relationships and cultural ideals – that is, whilst one may desire and imagine a happy family life, that life takes place in a certain kind of house, with particular goods and consumer based activities. So whilst not always focusing on it directly, the imagination may be restricted by our consumer culture such that we cannot imagine outside it.
The full paper – and others in the Editor’s Collection – can be downloaded here: http://joc.sagepub.com/cgi/collection/editors_choice_collection