This is an open call for expressions of interest in participating in the establishment of an interdisciplinary network of scholars and researchers at Wits (and possibly beyond) working on subjects broadly related to consumer culture in South Africa, Southern Africa or the global south broadly conceived. Some topics and areas that could be relevant to the proposed Network include: anthropological or sociological enquiry into diverse practices of consumption (shopping, media consumption, visual consumption, ethical consumption, consumer boycotts, conspicuous display of wealth, approaches to ‘consumption’ in poor communities, etc); theoretical and conceptual debates around terms such as ‘consumerism’, ‘consumption’, the ‘commodity’, ‘commercialism’, ‘the market’ and their applicability in a wide variety of socio-economic and cultural contexts; the ‘creep’ of market forces and commercial discourses into areas previously considered separate (such as humanitarian and NGO communication, education, policy, development rhetoric); critical enquiry into the messages and production of commercial texts and discourses, including advertising, branding, lifestyle media, fashion and style blogs, celebrity magazines; any work that engages with spaces of consumption such as shopping malls, markets, informal vendors, and so on; the intersection of consumption and consumer identities with race, class, gender and sexualities. The aim of the network will be to collaboratively work towards identifying common theoretical themes and fruitful empirical overlaps and dialogues – not to ‘homogenize’ the diversity of research relevant to consumer culture but to create a sound, collegiate and interdisciplinary framework for mapping out the complexities that characterize this area of research. If you are active in any area of research or scholarly practice that has some relationship to the above subjects, or to the idea of ‘consumer culture’ broadly conceived, please contact Dr Mehita Iqani (Senior Lecturer in Media Studies, firstname.lastname@example.org) with a short summary of your current research interests and an indication that you are interested in participating in the CRiCC network in 2012. Questions or suggestions also welcomed.
Call for participation in the CRiCC Network