Members of CMC’s Emerging Consumer Cultures Research Group (ECCG) are featured in April’s Journal of Consumer Behaviour – a special issue on Ambiguous Goods. Dr Janice Denegri-Knott of ECCG was a Guest Editor of the edition, along with Prof Liz Parsons of the University of Liverpool, and Dr Rebecca Jenkins (ECCG), Dr Richard Scullion (ECCG) and Dr Mike Molesworth (formerly ECCG, now at the University of Southampton) have an empirical paper published in the issue.
The idea of a special issue came as a result of a one-day event organised by ECCG and Liz Parsons, held at the The Geffrye Museum of the Home, in London, two years ago. Attendees, a mix of critical marketing and consumer culture researchers, were there to discuss the conceptual and methodological possibilities of ambiguity.
Invigorated by keynotes delivered by Prof. Don Slater’s (London School of Economics) and Andrew Levy (advertising practitioner) and thought provoking discussions that followed during the day, Janice and Liz decided there was both appetite and material for a special issue.
Taking stock from ideas and issues raised by contributors, in their editorial, Janice and Liz deal with the creative potential of disorder. They argue that in disordering things and in disorder, ambiguity becomes particularly visible, either as a problem that is confronted by mobilising an existing order, or exploited to produce new ordering work.
Becky, Mike and Richard’s paper, ‘The messy social lives of objects: inter-personal borrowing and the ambiguity of possession and ownership’, is the first published outcome of ECCG’s on-going research project about lending and borrowing. The paper focuses on the various ambiguities inherent in this form of non-market mediated consumption. Essentially, the research tells us a good deal about the ways in which consumer goods mediate social relationships. This research is particularly relevant given the recent recognition of and trend towards the Collaborative Consumption movement (www.collaborativeconsumption.com)
There are some well-known academics also in this special issue – Don Slater and Stephen Brown to mention just two.