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[Commlist] Call for Chapters - Trauma and Consumption (Nachricht von DiskursNetz)

Tue Oct 08 20:58:57 GMT 2019

*Call for Chapters - Trauma and Consumption*

*Call for Chapters* for a bespoke volume to be published by a major
publishing house on

*/Trauma and Consumption/*

(DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.20568.24324)

This volume aims at opening new theoretical vistas in conceptualizing how the
notion of trauma may be fruitfully applied to consumer research, as well as
offering fresh perspectives on how traumatism may modify, moderate, re-orient
and re-evaluate consumption experiences. The increasing emphasis in consumer
research that has been laid over the past few years on the unconscious in an
attempt to identify and account for psychological processes that pass under
the radar of a homeostatic ego that is driven by the pleasure principle calls
for an extensive and multi-faceted scrutiny of the notion of trauma.

            The concept of traumatic neurosis that was originally
popularized by Freud in his seminal treatise /Beyond the Pleasure Principle/
(1920) marked a critical turning point in psychoanalytic theorizing. It laid
the foundations for one of the most heavily researched topics in contemporary
psychologically oriented research, namely PTSD, while it has been
instrumental in the consolidation of cultural trauma theories which
constitute common conceptual currency in cultural studies and cultural
sociology, among other disciplines. To a lesser extent and at a less
speculative level, traumatic experiences have been scrutinized in consumer
research, largely in the context of psychologically inflected experimental

At the heart of Freud’s original theory of traumatic neurosis lies
repetition compulsion. As a result, the subject places himself in distressing
situations that repeat a prior experience, without the latter being
necessarily recalled. The repressed object or event that is repeated in
situations involving traumatism resurfaces obliquely in the form of jokes,
parapraxes, displaced and distorted. Freud went even further as to question
the necessity of a primal scene (whether actually lived or imagined) as the
object of a traumatically lived repetition. As remarked by Laplanche (1992),
trauma may as well be an instance of afterwardness, or, in Zizek’s (1992)
terms, a case of retroactive causality. In this context, Freud highlighted
the role performed by the death drive that works unconsciously, and in
dissonance to the pleasure principle, towards reinstating subjects to a state
of inertia.  The construct was operationalized in order to offer a putative
account of the destructive impulses that mitigate the pleasure principle and
that may not be attributed to the reality principle. Lacan later opened up
new interpretive horizons by contending that traumatism is a necessary
condition for entering the symbolic order whereby the subject is split.

            Subsequently, selected facets of psychoanalytic
approaches to traumatism have informed sociological and culturological
readings of sociocultural phenomena. On an individual level, traumatic
re-enactments surface as moments of disintegration, discontinuity, as an
uncontrollable space that unfolds and breaks the subject (Ratti & Estevao,
2016). While recognizing the paramount influence of affect in the return of
the repressed, Neal (1998) contends that traumatic events resurface in
feelings of anxiety and despair. In this context, priorities in consumptive
acts, practices, and occasions tend to shift in various and often unforeseen
ways, from complete withdrawal to compulsive purchasing, from a penchant for
luxury products to a reorientation towards consumptive experiences, rather
than products. On a collective level, according to Alexander (2012), cultural
trauma occurs when members feel they have been subjected to a horrendous
event that leaves indelible marks upon their group consciousness, marking
their memories forever and changing their future identity in fundamental and
irrevocable ways. Collectively enacted trauma presents a paradoxical
co-existence of two antagonistic forces, according to Smelser (2004), between
repression and obliteration, and compulsive reliving.

This volume adopts a pan-consumptivist approach to social phenomena, by
endorsing the thesis that consumption is not necessarily dependent on
organized markets, while extending it to ideologies, belief-systems,
sociocultural practices. Furthermore, it adopts a non-clinical orientation in
theorizing, accounting for and empirically investigating trauma-related
consumption phenomena. It does not seek to pass pathologizing judgments
(Parker 2014, 2015), and even less to ascribe symptoms causally to
solipsistically self-enclosed entities. This would contravene both Freudian
and Lacanian premises that have been most influential in trauma theory, as,
for the former, the cause of traumatism may not even rest on a determinate
object, but on the overdetermination of the pleasure principle by the death
drive, while the latter, allegedly, never sought to ‘cure’ patients, i.e.
reinstate them to a symbolic order which is responsible for the generation of
symptoms in the first place. By recognizing the paramount importance of
trauma theory as a cultural hermeneutic tool (Alexander 2012), we seek to map
its ramifications vis-à-vis consumption phenomena, but also to challenge
salient facets, and, above all, to advance existing theories in the light of
concrete cases.

We endorse both disciplinary, as well as methodological diversity by being
particularly receptive to submissions from researchers in various humanities
and social scientific disciplines who are keen on applying either
quantitative or qualitative or mixed methods research designs, encompassing,
but not being restricted to, cultural analysis, interviews, videography,
ethnography, online ethnography/netnography, conversation analysis,
phenomenological research, semiotic analysis, DA/CDA, to name a few
indicative avenues.

The following constitute indicative (and by no means exhaustive) areas for
framing and analyzing the relationship between trauma-related theories and
consumption studies:

  * Traumatic experiences as antecedents and/or moderating factors in the
    purchase and usage decision making process of products and services
  * Compulsive purchase behaviors that may be attributed to traumatic
* Autoethnohgraphic accounts of consumption related experiences in the light
    of traumatic events
  * How traumatic experiences are represented in entertainment products and
    how they are decoded by audiences
* How PTSD has impacted the purchase and consumption behaviors of specific
    segments (e.g. war veterans)
* Conceptual approaches to the operationalization of the concept of trauma
    as outlined in specific psychoanalytic theories
  * How the death drive is inscribed in repetitively enacted harmful
    consumptive acts
  * How cultural traumas that affected local or global populations are
    experienced through simulative re-enactment events
  * Psychoanalytic discourse analysis of movies, TV shows, music lyrics and
    other popular cultural artefacts that leverage facets of traumatism
  * The semiotics of traumatic advertising
  * How culturally traumatic events are transformed into consumable media
  * Traumatism and the memory of trauma as entry requirement in the
    constitution of imaginary collectives or the symbolic order of social

Manuscripts should be submitted to the volume’s editor, Dr. George
Rossolatos, Chief-Editor of the /International Journal of Marketing Semiotics
& Discourse Studies/ (University of Kassel, Germany) via email @
(georgerossolatos123 /at/ [1] no later than February 29, 2020, by using
APA formatting style. Authors are encouraged to contact the editor for an
informal discussion of their selected topic.  The authors will receive
further information about the volume upon acceptance of their manuscript.

Project milestones

Deadline for initial manuscript submission: Feb 29 2020

Deadline for notification of acceptance: Mar 30 2020

Deadline for revisions: June 30 2020

Expected publication: End of Q4 2020


Alexander, Jeffrey C. (2012).  /Trauma: A social theory/. Cambridge: Polity.

Dor, Joël & Gurewich, Judith F. (2010). /Introduction to the reading of
Lacan: The unconscious structured like a language. /London: Other Press.

Freud, Sigmund (1920). Beyond the pleasure principle. In Sigmund Freud,
/Collected works /(pp. 3715-3762). London: Hogarth.

Lacan, Jacques (1998). /Seminar XI: The four fundamental concepts of
psychoanalysis/. New York: W.W.Norton.

Laplanche, Jean & Pontalis, Jean/-/Bertrand (1988). /The language of
psychoanalysis/. London: Karnac.

Laplanche, Jean (1992). /Seduction, translation, drives./ London: Institute
of Contemporary Arts.

Mc Alexander, James (2011). Communitas interruptus: The limits of loyalty.
/European Advances in Consumer Research/, Vol. 9, 401-405.

Meek, Allen (2016). Media traumatization, symbolic wounds and digital
culture.**/Communication and Media, XI /(38), 91–110.

Neal, Arthur G. (1998). /National trauma and collective memory: major events
in the American century/. N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe.

Neill, Calum (2013). Breaking the text: An introduction to Lacanian discourse
analysis. /Theory & Psychology, 23 /(3), 334–350.

O’ Guinn, Thomas C. & Faber, Ronald J. (1989). Compulsive buying: a
phenomenological exploration. /Journal of Consumer Research, 16 /(2),

Parker, Ian (2014). Lacanian discourse analysis: seven elements. In Ian
Parker & David Pavon-Cuellar (Eds.)/, Lacan, discourse, event: new
psychoanalytic approaches to textual indeterminacy /(pp. 38-51). London:

Parker, Ian (2015). /Psychology after discourse analysis: concepts, methods,
critique/. London: Routledge.

Ratti, Fabiana C. & Estevão, Ivan Ramos (2016). Violence, accident, and
trauma – the psychoanalytic clinic faced with the Real of urgency and
emergency. /Ágora,//19 /(3), 1-9.

Rossolatos, George (2018). Consumed by the Real: A conceptual framework of
abjective consumption and its freaky vicissitudes. /Qualitative Market
Research: An International Journal/, /21/(1), 39-62.

Rossolatos, George (2015). Fetish, taboo, simulacrum: An applied
psychoanalytic/semiotic approach to the experiential consumption of music
products. In George Rossolatos. /Semiotics of popular culture/. Kassel:
Kassel University Press.

Rossolatos, George (2013). Smoke your brains out: Death drive as
interpretative framework for compulsive consumption acts. Paper presented at
the 38th Annual Macromarketing Conference, Toronto, Canada, 4-7 June.

Smelser, Neil J.  (2004). Psychological trauma and cultural trauma. In
Jeffrey C. Alexander, Ron Eyerman, Bernhard Giesen, Neil J. Smelser, Piotr
Sztompka (Eds.), Cultural/ trauma and collective identity/ (pp. 31-59),
London: University of California Press.

Zizek, Slavoj (1992). /Looking awry: An introduction to Jacques Lacan through
popular culture. /Massachusetts: MIT Press.

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