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Digcon: Digitalizing consumer culture

Digcon is an international interdisciplinary project that aims to study digital market devices through the lens of the shaping of product markets and consumption practices.

Digital devices contribute to the shaping of new consumer identities
Mobile smartphones, laptops and tablets are omnipresent gateways to cyber activity, at work and at home, in education and consumption. Among these fields, the latter deserves particular attention: digital devices are not only consumed, they are also used increasingly by consumers along their consumption practices (as payment tools, information providers and virtual shops). In so doing, these devices contribute to the shaping of new consumer identities, and address issues in terms of gender, ethics, class, abilities and exclusions.

The project aims to contribute to the emerging tradition of practice-based approaches to consumption and particularly the study of market devices and their use in everyday markets.

Research questions

  • What ideas, values and beliefs concerning consumers and consumption are promoted through new digital devices?
  • How are the devices implemented, that is; how are consumers attracted to participate, and how do they make use of, translate, ignore or resist these devices?
  • What are the implications of these digital devices for consumers, consumption and market practices in everyday markets; in particular in terms of gender, ethics and power relations?

We use a multi-methodology approach in five work packages targeted at revealing different aspects of digitalized consumption. With a combination of common ethnographic qualitative and virtual ethnography but also historical methods, we will study digital consumption in four work packages: The evolution and consequences of digital market devices by tracing their development over time; the gendered aspects of the digitalization of consumption; the changes in consumer commitment and forms of trust regarding ethical consumption; and the self-marketing aspects of digital devices.

Planned publications
Journal articles and an academic book covering the different dimensions studied in the project will be published in 2016.

The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet, http://www.vr.se/inenglish.4.12fff4451215cbd83e4800015152.html ) and is a four-year independent research project, running between 2013 and 2016.

PDF document describing the project

Call for evidence

Do you own a smartphone and use one or more app(s) installed on it to assist you in your everyday mobile consumption practices? If so, we would be very grateful if you would share some of your experiences with us!

More and how to share your experiences

Page Manager: Henric Karlsson |Last update: 2/10/2014

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