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Putting Consumers To Work

D. Zwick, S. Bonsu, Aron Darmody
Published 2008 · Sociology

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Co-creation is a new paradigm that has captured the imagination of marketing and management professionals and scholars. Drawing on Foucault's notion of government and neo-Marxist theories of labor and value, we critically interrogate the cultural, social, and economic politics of this new management technique. We suggest that co-creation represents a political form of power aimed at generating particular forms of consumer life at once free and controllable, creative and docile. We argue that the discourse of value co-creation stands for a notion of modern corporate power that is no longer aimed at disciplining consumers and shaping actions according to a given norm, but at working with and through the freedom of the consumer. In short, administering consumption in ways that allow for the continuous emergence and exploitation of creative and valuable forms of consumer labor is the true meaning of the concept of co-creation.
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