With apologies for cross-posting

2nd Call for Papers

Global Conference on Economic Geography (GCEG), Cologne, July 24-28 2018

Between co-creation and political consumption: New perspectives on the role of 
consumers and consumption practice in economic value creation

Organisers: Martin Hess (University of Manchester, UK) and Felix Mueller (IRS 
Erkner, Germany)

In the age of big data and social media, tracing and quantifying the consumer's 
every move has become a source of enormous economic value. At the same time, 
consumer demands, preferences and decisions are increasingly seen as paramount 
in the process of economic value creation, and reflected in discourses ranging 
from user-driven innovation to calls for sustainability and ethical business 

Researching the agency of consumers in economic value creation presents a 
fundamental challenge to economic geography, both in ontological and in 
epistemological terms. Work in cultural economy and geography has taken up the 
notion of 'co-creation' of value by consumers, often employing flat ontologies 
to study places and performances of value creation (Crewe 2016, 2017; Lange and 
Bürkner 2013). A certain bias towards creative and high-end products is 
evident. On the other hand, critical approaches rooted in Marxist Political 
Economy tend to remain centred on production and labour theories of value. From 
this angle, consumption and co-creation can themselves be understood as labour 
(Goss 2006; Cova, Dalli & Zwick 2011), and both the consumer and the private 
household appear as objects of exploitation, often involving mechanisms of debt 
(Sokol 2013). However, such structuralist ontologies tend to fail at fully 
appreciating the potential of consumption-driven value creation. Can - and 
should - this rift be overcome?

Methodologically, the precise role of consumption in economic value creation is 
difficult to grasp. Through the lens of of a given product, firm or production 
network, it is possible to identify and frame the buyer as 'the consumer'. But 
more recently, consumption practice as a more holistic notion has come into the 
focus of research. Encompassing the intricacies of everyday decision making of 
consumers (Mansvelt 2010), it is much more elusive and certainly has to eschew 
the rather crude dichotomy of the 'consumer as dupe' and consumer 
'sovereignty'.  Likewise, a shift has taken place from ethical consumption as a 
matter of individual responsibility to the entanglements and distributed agency 
of political mobilization in consumption (Clarke 2008; Evans, Welch & Swaffield 

In this session we invite conceptual and empirical contributions which include 
but are not limited to
-  advancing the theorization of consumption and value creation in Economic 
Geography, possibly within the frame of a Cultural Political Economy (Best and 
Paterson 2010, Hudson 2008),
-  suggesting and discussing new methodologies to study consumption in Economic 
-  addressing  political contestation in consumption practice and value creation
-  interrogating the notion of value and valuation regimes in relation to 
-  critically reflecting upon avenues of intervention, expression, emancipation 
and activism involving consumers.

Clarke, N. (2008): From Ethical Consumerism to Political Consumption. Geography 
Compass 2(6), pp. 1870-1884
Cova, B., Dalli, D. & D. Zwick (2011): Critical perspectives on consumers' role 
as 'producers': Broadening the debate on value co-creation in marketing 
processes. Marketing Theory 11(3) pp. 231-141
Crewe, L. (2016): Placing Fashion: Art, space, display and the building of 
luxury markets through retail design. Progress in Human Geography. 40(4), pp. 
511 - 529
Crewe, L. (2017): The Geographies of Fashion: Consumption, Space, and Value. 
London / New York, Bloomsbury
Evans, D., Welch, D., J. Swaffield (2017) Constructing and mobilizing 'the 
consumer': Responsibility, consumption and the politics of sustainability. 
Environment and Planning A 49(6), pp. 1396 - 1412
Goss, J. (2006): Geographies of consumption: the work of consumption. Progress 
in Human Geography 30(2), pp. 237-249
Hudson, R. (2008): Cultural political economy meets global production networks: 
a productive meeting? Journal of Economic Geography 8(3), pp. 421-440
Lange, B. & HJ. Bürkner (2013): Value Creation in Scene-based Music Production: 
The Case of Electronic Club Music in Germany. Economic Geography 89(2), pp. 
Mansvelt, J. (2010): Geographies of consumption: engaging with absent 
presences. Progress in Human Geography 34(2), pp. 224 - 233
Patterson, M. & J. Best (2009): Cultural Political Economy. Routledge, London
Sokol, M. (2013): Towards a 'newer' economic geography? Injecting finance and 
financialisation into economic geographies. Cambridge Journal of Regions, 
Economy and Society 6(3), pp. 501-515

Please send your paper abstract (roughly 250 words) and title to Martin Hess 
(martin.h...@manchester.ac.uk<mailto:martin.h...@manchester.ac.uk>) and Felix 
Müller (felix.muel...@leibniz-irs.de<mailto:felix.muel...@leibniz-irs.de>) by 
March 15th 2018.

Dr Martin Hess
Department of Geography
School of Environment, Education and Development
University of Manchester
Arthur Lewis Building
Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL
Phone: +44 161 2753643
Email: martin.h...@manchester.ac.uk<mailto:martin.h...@manchester.ac.uk>

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