TCR 2023 Track 1 Call for Applications

Short Track Descriptions

TCR Diagological Conference Track 1 sessions are a space of innovation for building a network of researchers with a new and greater capacity to tackle pressing well-being issues (individual, societal, environmental, etc.) that are a function of consumer behaviors. These sessions are spaces of opportunity to experiment, e.g., inviting non-academic guests; working across the intersection of social problems; bringing in academics from across disciplinary divides to introduce new tools, theories, and perspectives; and including a stakeholder in the process of doing research. There are numerous pathways to benefit consumers and well-being, and we encourage tracks to explore many ideas and then share the successful ones. Participants include junior and senior scholars and external stakeholders. 


Please find below short descriptions for each Track 1 accepted proposal. To find out more about a track, please click on the link below the short description.

If you have questions about a particular track, please email the Track Contact.

(* Contact person for that track) 

Track 1.1: The Dark Side of Brand Activism: Conflict, Hate, and Democracy

Simon Blyth* (University of Bristol, UK) 
Olivier Sibai (Birkbeck, University of London, UK)
Mario Campana (University of Bristol, UK)

Marketing theory and practice have largely hailed brand activism as the long-awaited awakening of brands to their moral and socio-political responsibilities. Yet brand activism is a conflict-laden practice, with brands taking a stand on controversial, political, and moral issues, fuelling existing controversies and creating new ones; promoting division, radicalization, and hate between citizen-consumers. In this track, we address the dark sides of brand activism by asking how activist brands may promote hate and how both regressive and woke brands shape the dynamics of division. We also explore the potential for brand activism to work towards building mutual understanding and the common good.

More Information on Track 1.1

Track 1.2: Modern Slavery and Markets

Michal Carrington (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Andreas Chatzidakis (Royal Holloway University of London, UK)
Deirdre Shaw* (University of Glasgow, UK) *
Rohit Varman (University of Birmingham, UK)

Modern slavery is a widespread, global problem, indeed, there are more slaves in the contemporary world than was ever the case in the last 500 years. This TCR track will explore the intersections between production and consumption at an individual level in the context of modern slavery.

More Information on Track 1.2

Track 1.3: Therapeutic Networks: Theorizing a New Lens for Transformative Consumer Research

Susan Dunnett* (University of Edinburgh, UK) *
Kathy Hamilton (University of Strathclyde, UK)
Maria Piacentini (Lancaster University, UK)
Emma Banister (University of Manchester, UK)

The purpose of this track is to develop the transformative potential of a therapeutic network theory. Prior research has revealed how therapeutic communities and therapeutic servicescapes can positively impact consumer well-being. Our track seeks to build on this work by exploring how spaces, places, experiences, and practices converge to comprise a therapeutic network. We invite participants with expertise or interest in aspects of health, well-being and therapeutic consumption who are keen to both develop theory and use theory to create meaningful transformations for consumers and social impact organizations.

More Information on Track 1.3


Track 1.4: Expanding Our Understanding of Inclusion and (its pesky shadow) Exclusion: How Inclusion and Exclusion Impact and are Impacted By Consumers, Marketplaces, and Markets

Susan Dobscha* (Bentley University, USA) *
Elena Elkanova (Bentley University, USA)

Inclusion is having a cultural moment. Everyone is talking about how to be more inclusive in the workplace, schools, and NGOs. Unfortunately, inclusion does not occur naturally; exclusion does. Inclusion (like diversity and equity) cannot truly be achieved until we understand why it is necessary and why it is still so difficult to attain. Until we unpack the nature of exclusion, we can never fully achieve inclusion. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to the inclusion/exclusion (hereafter, IE) relationship to ultimately construct a comprehensive framework that guides future researchers in their efforts to engage in research designed to overcome consumer, marketplace, and market exclusion and improve inclusion throughout the consumption/marketing system.

More Information on Track 1.4


Track 1.5: aiGreen: Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Living

Naz Onel* (Stockton University, USA) *
Avinandan (Avi) Mukherjee (Marshall University, USA)
Estelle van Tonder (North-West University, South Africa)

This track explores emerging AI-based solutions for sustainable living in the broad context of energy choice and consumption by incorporating technological, psychological, and sociological considerations that offer eclectic perspectives across disciplines, theories, and contexts. The track aims to create impact by bringing insights from a broad network of interdisciplinary researchers, focused on nonprofits, governments, technology, and businesses in both developed and emerging markets, to identify, prototype, and scale solutions that engender positive consumption experiences. Therefore, our investigation of AI solutions in the energy consumption context will address all aspects of human-automation interactions including cognitive, emotional, ethical, and behavioral responses through efficient, secure, and equitable implementations.

More information on Track 1.5


Track 1.6: The Risk and the Promise of Human Curiosity for Consumer Well-Being: Developing the Research Agenda to Protect and Empower Consumers

My (Myla) Bui (Loyola Marymount University, USA)
Courtney Droms Hatch (Butler University, USA)
Yuliya Komarova Loureiro* (Fordham University, USA) *

Human curiosity can be both a blessing and a curse to consumer well-being. As piquing one’s curiosity is becoming progressively easier, enabled by technology, it is both timely and urgent that we develop a conceptual framework to help researchers, policymakers, and consumers better understand the many roles curiosity can play in consumption and in particular, delineate a research agenda for future empirical work to help protect and enhance consumer well-being. This track seeks to attract academics and practitioners with a variety of backgrounds to allow for a holistic perspective on the risk and the promise human curiosity holds.

More information on Track 1.6


Track 1.7: Understanding the Transformative Nature of Heritage Consumption

Cele Otnes* (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) *
Pauline Maclaran (Royal Holloway University of London)

Heritage has been defined as receiving the past through objects and their display, representations and engagements, spectacular locations/events, commemorations, and places prepared for cultural purposes and consumption (Waterton and Watson 2015). Our field lacks a comprehensive conceptual overview of how consuming heritage can prove transformative for its stakeholders, in positive and negative, short- and long-term, and other ways. Given the pervasiveness and popularity of heritage consumption, and that many experiences leverage key intersectional dimensions (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, age), this session will draw together scholars interested in understanding the welfare implications of consuming heritage. 

More information on Track 1.7


Track 1.8: Educational Activism and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives for a Better World

Nuket Serin* (Bellarmine University, USA) *
Jayati Sinha (Florida International University, USA)

The aim of this track is to explore the concept of activism and DEI efforts in higher educational institutions (HEIs). Specifically, this track will focus on the impact and outcomes of these efforts on students, faculty, employees, stakeholders, and the larger community to make the world a better place and increase the well-being of its stakeholders. Further, HEIs will be in a better position to optimize their effectiveness while engaging in activism and DEI efforts.

More information on Track 1.8



Track 1.9: Social Justice and Decarbonization of Housing

Eliisa Kylkilahti* (University of Helsinki) *
Henna Syrjälä (University of Vaasa)

Decarbonization of housing is urgent. The existing buildings should uptake mitigation technologies and adapt to extreme weather events. However, the most critical housing stock regarding climate change mitigation is typically inhabited by the most vulnerable social groups. Severe social inequalities slow down housing stock decarbonization as climate change impacts induce new challenges, ranging from social and spatial polarization to energy poverty. This track zooms in on the social justice of climate actions in the context of housing. The aim of the track is to develop a consumer-inclusive approach that contributes to the equitability of climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

More information on Track 1.9


Track 1.10: Consumer Empowerment and External Influence: Implications for Transformative Consumer Research and Social Marketing

Thomas Anker* (University of Dundee, UK)  
Ariadne Kapetanaki (University of York, UK)
Nadina Luca* (University of York, UK) 
Fiona Spotswood (University of Bristol, UK)

The aim of this track is to discuss a foundational question underpinning transformative consumer research (TCR) and social marketing:  To what extent are consumers empowered to make informed decisions that have the potential to transform their lives for the better? We seek to engage researchers and practitioners who can bring multiple disciplinary perspectives to stimulate dialogue over the scope and limitations of individual consumer choice, empowerment, and responsibility across the spectrum of social, environmental, and health issues within the context of TCR.

More information on Track 1.10

Track 1.11: The Ambiguous Role of Technology in Older Consumers' Well-Being and Healthy Aging

Bernardo Figueiredo* (RMIT University, Australia) *
Michelle Barnhart (Oregon State University, USA)
Nil Özçaglar-Toulouse (University of Lille, France)

This track aims to better understand ways to enhance the well-being of the population of older consumers (65+) through the use of technology. We plan to achieve this purpose through the following research goals:
● Outline what constitutes “aging well”, “healthy aging”, and synonymous constructs.
● Review theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches, and larger programs that seek to address these ideals, with a special emphasis on the role of technology.
● Identify opportunities, and challenges that the use of technology in the service of these ideals present.
● Outline a future-research agenda

More information on Track 1.11

Track 1.12: Transforming Communities through Promoting Inclusive Art Consumption

Athina Dilmperi* (Middlesex University London, Business School) * 
Patrick Elf (Middlesex University London, Business School) 

Despite the shared notion across cultures that art has value, its consumption is predominately seen as leisure activity and little or no consideration is given to its influence on our everyday lives or its considerable potential to transform communities and ultimately our well-being. In this track, we seek to critically explore the transformative potential of inclusive art consumption to facilitate sustainable well-being within and across communities.

More information on Track 1.12

Track 1.13: Transformative Cultural Experiences: Digital Transformation for Individual and Societal Well-Being

Michela Addis* (Università Roma Tre, Italy) *
Andrea Rurale* (Bocconi University, Italy) *

Digital transformation is expected to drive our next future worldwide, but its disruptive effects are largely unknown. This track focuses on this issue in the cultural industries, addressing the following research question: How does digital transformation shape transformative cultural experiences for individual and societal well-being? We aim to develop an innovative conceptual framework to help arts and cultural organizations and policymakers adopt emerging and digital technologies for transformative cultural experiences. In line with the TCR approach, we will integrate multidisciplinary perspectives (including but not limited to emerging and digital technologies, design, marketing, cultural experiences, well-being, and innovative ecosystems).

More information on Track 1.13

Track 1.14: The Rise of Brand Activism: A Critical Perspective on the Power of Brands

Sommer Kapitan* (Auckland University of Technology) *
Jessica Vredenburg (Auckland University of Technology)
Katharine Howie (University of Southern Mississippi)

Brand activism, adopting a stand for a social cause or political issue, is inherently controversial. Activist brands are willing to alienate one audience as they court another like-minded segment. Yet the risk of negative consumer outcomes and brand externalities due to activism warrant concern and investigation. Indirect, societal outcomes abound, and as brand activism furthers polarization and transformative, activist brands grapple with their role in society. Should brands play a role in shaping broader legislation? These tensions highlight the need for further theoretical insight and empirical validation on how to maximize long-term societal and brand benefits and minimize negative externalities.

More information on Track 1.14

Track 1.15: Mature Consumer Well-Being in a Net Zero World

Josephine Go Jeffries* (Newcastle University, UK) *
Danae Manika (Brunel University London, UK)
Natalia Yannopoulou (Newcastle University, UK)

An aging global population has significant health and well-being public policy implications. Also, governments worldwide have recently become more vocal about negating greenhouse gas emissions associated with human activity to achieve “net zero”. However, most net zero behavior change research has focused on younger adults, with a limited account of the linkages between health, well-being, and the environment. Hence this track aims to identify gaps and behavior change tactics salient to both environmental and health domains to enable mature consumers to become agents of positive change in a net zero world.

More information on Track 1.15

Track 1.16: Applying a Service Design Perspective to Address Social Determinants of Health

Andrew S. Gallan* (Florida Atlantic University, USA) *
Anu Helkkula (Hanken School of Economics, Finland)

In this track, we see health and vulnerability to be socially constructed and evaluate how a service design perspective can be used to mitigate “upstream” factors that affect people’s health and well-being, termed Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). SDOH foment conditions that create and exacerbate vulnerability and are beyond the control of any one individual. Therefore, substantial changes need to be made to design services that mitigate SDOH and its effects on people experiencing vulnerability. Service design as a method can engage relevant actors at different levels in designing and supporting transformative changes for improved SDOH.

More information on Track 1.16

Track 1.17: Terry Pratchett’s Boot Theory: Exploring the Role of Disposable Products in Reinforcing the Cycle of Poverty

Bridget Leonard* (Assumption University, USA) *
Aida Faber (Laval University, Canada)

High-quality, long-lasting goods often require a high investment upfront but can help save money over the long term by minimizing repeated waste. However, people living in poverty often cannot access these quality goods because of a lack of resources. Poverty alleviation policies often inadvertently encourage the constant repurchasing of broken or disposable products. We are asking: Is there a better model for reimagining public policy focusing on sustainable, long-term buying behaviors? This track will develop a framework through which to examine how perceptions of consumption choices of people living in poverty might affect long-term outcomes.

More information on Track 1.17

Track 1.18: Applied Neuroscience for Consumer Wellbeing: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Colleen Bee* (Oregon State University, USA) *
Richard J. Lutz (University of Florida, USA)
Gia Nardini* (Florida Atlantic University, USA) *

We integrate applied neuroscience and mindfulness to provide consumers with a toolkit of practices and directions on when and why to use these practices for improved mental health. Through our partnership with Founder and Executive Director of BeMindful, Anne Marie Rossi, we plan to test the efficacy of the applied neuroscience approach to mindfulness through a 6-week program. In this novel program, we fuse the core benefits of mindfulness with the neuroscience behind why and how these benefits occur. We hope to demonstrate the value of a program designed to instill mental health habits that are bite-sized, approachable, and actionable for busy and overwhelmed consumers.

More information on Track 1.18


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