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Consumer Culture Fairytales: Ecstasy, Fury and Vision 

Odense is the ubiquitously claimed birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, and according to legends of old the “sanctuary of Odin”, master of ecstasy, fury and vision. This year we therefore claim the fairy tale as an epistemic window into consumer culture. Building on medieval traditions of the grotesque and gothic unheimlicness, we address the tensions and ambiguities in fairytales of consumer culture.

Fairy tales are often associated with disneyfied narratives of happy endings. However, many fairy tales, with their root in medieval fables and legends, point to the complexities of morality, humanity and knowledge. In Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl” we find a young girl observing the enjoyment of consumption on New Year’s eve, she observes a Christmas tree and people having a lavish dinner. As her matches run out she dies in the snow as the first day of the new year breaks. Far from a happy end, the story gives us multiple entry points to reality: the disinterested observer of consumer culture, inequality of participation in consumer culture; but also the grotesque image of the Christmas turkey jumping from the table - fork in back running towards the little girl – a laugh/ joke amidst the despair.

Fairy tales come in many versions and offer multiple (layers of) interpretations, meanings that are often ambiguous, conflictual and paradoxical. Evoking both wonder and terror, we invite you to explore the polysemous and complex layers of our own stories of consumer culture. We are particularly interested in submissions that uncover surprising layers of meaning in the canonical narrative of CCT. Such as:

  • The story of CCT: marginalization/mainstreaming
  • Reclaiming/redefining the stories of marketing
  • Stories of marketplace transformations
  • Stories of market utopias as dystopias
  • The story of global and local

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