Conference: Call for Papers

History of Consumer Culture:
Objects, Desire and Sociability

23-25 March 2017, Gakushuin University, Tokyo

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Prof Maxine Berg (University of Warwick, UK)
Dr Lawrence Klein (University of Cambridge, UK)
Prof Toshio Kusamitsu (Open University of Japan)

Abstract Deadline: 30 June 2016

The Forum for History of Consumer Culture would like to warmly invite paper proposals for our 2017 Conference, ‘History of Consumer Culture: Objects, Desire and Sociability’.

The conference is particularly keen to have papers that examine the historical development of consumer practices related to proliferation of ‘objects’, associating with fostering of ‘sociability’. The papers that provide an empirical research into the complex relationships between the development of market and non-market exchanges of goods and the formation of civic and civil social interactions will be highly valued. Also, proposals from scholars across disciplinary and national borders for any related topic in a broader definition of the history of consumption are welcomed. Please note, the committee will give priority to papers that provide case studies over those papers present mainly theoretical arguments.

Some tentative questions are:

  • Can we overcome the dichotomous argument between the spread of market economy and the formation of civic society by focusing on consumer practices?
  • What have been the roles of intellectual and material desires in consumer society?
  • How has consumer cultures developed as an intermediary node that connected production, distribution (through exchange and/or giving) and consumption?
  • Were economic, cultural and social endowments of the consumer important in fostering the complexity of the public sphere? And if so, to what extent?
  • What is the role of the compound social connectivity in shaping and sharing taste and politeness?
  • What has been the contribution of various public debates on luxury, affluence, austerity and poverty in stimulating and instilling the culture of consumption?
  • Did class and gender matter in shaping/not shaping distinctive forms of national/regional consumer cultures, and how?

These questions can be approached from a number of perspectives. The conference will bring researchers from diverse fields together to tackle these questions, and we hope to establish a global community for making further efforts to study the history of consumer culture in cooperation.

Early-career researchers as well as established scholars are welcome to participate. A special session for graduate students will be held on the last day of the conference. All papers will be published in the conference proceedings (with a ISBN) and a selection of papers (subject to the normal reviewing process) may be nominated to our further publication.

The papers should be 20-25 minutes in length. For each proposed paper, please send a short abstract of 300-400 words with the author’s name, affiliations, and email address, to: (Dr Hiroki Shin, Berkbeck College, London, UK)
or (Satomi Ohashi, Senshu University, Japan)

Please send the proposals for the paper by 30 June 2016. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 31 July 2016. Further details of the conference programme and events will appear on the Conference website.




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Updated: 2016-05-13