Reframing the Embodied Consumer As Cyborg a Posthumanist Epistemology of Consumption

Markus Giesler, York University
Alladi Venkatesh, University of California B Irvine
ABSTRACT - The two-fold purpose of this research is to introduce a posthumanist epistemology of technology consumption and to illustrate the usefulness of this epistemology in the study of consumption as a whole. Combining recent Anglo-American theories of consumer behavior and European systems theory, we first introduce the tetralemma of the system, an analytical framework for the systemic structuration of consumer behavior, which is then used to explore and develop three posthumanist systems on the rise and of interest in the marketplace matrix: (1) cyborg consumers (2) brand systems and (3) protest systems. The cyborg is the prototypical posthumanist consumer, a cybernetic organism that signifies the symbiosis between animal and machine, but also reflects the transformative union between economic priority and insatiable desire, living being and observing system. A brand system embeds consumers’ and marketers’ brand related social communication to establish control over consumption. protest system is concerned with the ongoing social process of ensuring outsider status from the market dominated social environment through consumption.. Finally, we conclude that our posthumanist epistemology of consumption and the notion of systems provide important new insights into the posthumanist understanding of the consumer as well as the cultural structuring of posthuman consumer culture.
[ to cite ]:
Markus Giesler and Alladi Venkatesh (2005) ,"Reframing the Embodied Consumer As Cyborg a Posthumanist Epistemology of Consumption", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32, eds. Geeta Menon and Akshay R. Rao, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 661-669.