Material and Consumer Culture Call for Papers

ESSHC network: Material and Consumer Culture

Products, environments, circuits and people

Our focus in this network is on the production, distribution and consumption of material goods, and the systems of value, knowledge and meaning that link these together. We are concerned with the materiality of objects, technologies and environments, and the ways in which this creates discourses and impacts upon people and space. This is closely tied to an interest in the social and cultural frameworks within which these material objects circulate and acquire or generate meaning.

In 2020 our focus will be on “Materiality, Time and Space”

Consumption brings together goods, people and ideas. However, the myriad ways in which these combine vary across space and time, responding to and moulding local, national and global economics and cultures. Reflecting on the ways that materiality shapes environments through time, and vice versa, and gauging the causality of changing spaces (cities, homes, supermarkets, rural shops, etc.) in our altering interaction with goods, is a central research ambition of Material and Consumer Culture studies.

As a network, we wish to reflect upon these ideas at the 2020 conference. We welcome submissions on any subject linked to Material and Consumer Culture, but particularly invite papers or panels that explore the theme of Materiality, Time and Space, for example under the following headings:

  • Spaces of consumption: domestic, commercial, leisure and virtual
  • Consuming spaces: commodification of the countryside, cities and the home
  • Shopping cultures: social and cultural interactions around goods in retail spaces
  • Objects as agents: the material turn, its impact on space (streets, homes, etc.)
  • Global-local mobility: travel as consumption
  • Time and/for consumption: routines, rituals and cycles

We are inviting session proposals which include four papers on a specific theme, a chair and a discussant / commentator. However, single papers are also welcome; the network chairs will assemble papers to sessions, or allocate them to an appropriate session. Sessions take two hours, with oral presentations and a comment of c.15 minutes; half an hour minimum is reserved for a plenary discussion. The conference language is English.

Ideally, sessions include a mix of countries, and certainly a mix of universities. We particularly welcome proposals for comparative and / or inter-disciplinary sessions.

We would also encourage submissions that take an inter-disciplinary approach and/or those which seek to draw national and international comparisons.

Proposals for individual papers or panels (comprising four speakers, a discussant and a chair) should be submitted via the ESSHC website. We welcome the opportunity to discuss panel proposals in advance of formal submission.