Wisconsin School of Business

Craig Thompson

Professor - Marketing
Gilbert & Helen Churchill Professor of Marketing

J. Craig Thompson is the Gilbert and Helen Churchill Professor in the Marketing Department of the Wisconsin School of Business.

His research focuses on issues related to the use of qualitative methodologies in marketing, gender differences among consumers, media effects on consumer perceptions and body images, consumer satisfaction, and the symbolic aspects of consumer behavior.

Craig has published articles in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, International Journal of Research in Marketing, and Advances in Consumer Research. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Consumer Research and the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.

His teaching interests are in the area of consumer behavior, research methodology, marketing theory, and retail management.

Thompson received his Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Tennessee.
 

Selected Accepted Journal Articles


Thompson, C. (2013). Russ Belk’s (Belkian) Perspective on Discipline and Liberation in Consumption: A Convergence of the Cosmopolitan and the Carnivalesque —Editor’s Introduction,”. Legends in Consumer Behavior—Russell Belk, Vol. 9: Discipline and Liberation in Consumption
Tambyah, S., & Thompson, C. (2012). Social Branding and the Mythic Re-Invention of Ethnic Identity,”.
Article AbstractIn this chapter, we analyze consumers’ ethnic identifications as a social brand that is constructed and promoted through a network of family myths. Our participants’ mythic reinvention of ethnic identity manifests a subtle reaction against the democratizing tendencies of the consumer culture’s identity market. Through these myths, our participants’ construct their ethnic identity as a deeply rooted, familial connection to their immigrant history. However, consumers’ relationships to this social brand vary across generations, sometimes contentiously so, owing to different viewpoints on how to best maintain the authenticity of this social brand.
Identity and Consumption, 326-335.
Thompson, C. “Out of Morris Holbrook’s Aesthetics of Consumption Symbolism”. Legends in Marketing—Morris Holbrook, Volume 9, Qualitative Methods, Part II: Symbolic Consumer Behavior or Consumption Symbolism, ed. Alan Bradshaw, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, forthcoming.
Thompson, C. “How Community Supported Agriculture Facilitates a Re-embedding and Re-territorializing of Sustainable Consumption Practices. Sustainable Lifestyles and the Quest for Plenitude: Case Studies of the New Economy,, 125-147.
Thompson, C. Cooperative Networks, Participatory Markets, and Rhizomatic Resistance: Situating Plenitude within Contemporary Political-economy Debates,. Sustainable Lifestyles and the Quest for Plenitude: Case Studies of the New Economy,, 233-249.
Thompson, C. Practicing Plenitude: An Introduction,”. Sustainable Lifestyles and the Quest for Plenitude: Case Studies of the New Economy,, 1-25.
Thompson, C., & Arnould, E. Writing Consumer Culture, Writing B-School,”. Sourcebook of Anthropology in Business, 116-134.

Selected Published Journal Articles


Thompson, C., & Humphreys, A. (2014). “Branding Disaster: Re-establishing Trust through the Ideological Containment of Systemic Risk Anxieties. Journal of Consumer Research (41), 877-901.
Coskuner-Balli, G., & Thompson, C. (2013). The Status Costs of Subordinate Cultural Capital: At-Home Fathers’ Collective Pursuit of Cultural Legitimacy through Capitalizing Consumption Practices.
Article AbstractConsumer researchers have primarily conceptualized cultural capital either as an endowed stock of resources that tend to reproduce socio-economic hierarchies among consumer collectivities or as constellations of knowledge and skill that consumers acquire by making identity investments in a given consumption field. These studies, however, have given scant attention to the theoretical distinction between dominant and subordinate forms of cultural capital, with the latter affording comparatively lower conversion rates for economic, social, and symbolic capital. To redress this oversight, we present a multi-method investigation of middle-class men who are performing the emergent gender role of at-home fatherhood. We profile and theoretically elaborate upon a set of capitalizing consumption practices through which at-home fathers seek to enhance the conversion rates of their acquisitions of domesticated (and subordinate) cultural capital and, to build greater cultural legitimacy for their marginalized gender identity.
Journal of Consumer Research (40), 19-41. doi: 10.1086/668640.
Thompson, C., & Ustuner, T. (2012). How Marketplace Performances Produce Interdependent Status Games and Contested Forms of Symbolic Capital.
Article AbstractConsumer researchers have commonly analyzed marketplace performances as liminal events structured by context-specific role playing, norms of reciprocity, and cocreative collaborations. As a consequence, this literature remains theoretically mute on questions related to the sociological disparities that arise when marketplace performances forge relationships between affluent consumers and underclass service workers: a circumstance becoming increasingly commonplace owing to trends in the service-oriented global economy. To redress this gap, we analyze how such sociocultural differences are manifested and mediated in the provisions of skilled marketplace performances. Building upon Bourdieu’s logic of field analysis, our resulting theoretical framework illuminates a network of structural relations that reconfigures the asymmetrical distribution of class-based resources between these class factions. Rather than being cooperative endeavors conducive to the formation of commercial friendships, we show that these class-stratified marketplace performances produce interdependent status games, subtly manifested power struggles, and contested forms of symbolic capital.
Journal of Consumer Research (38), 796-814. doi: 10.1086/660815.
Thompson, C. (2011). Understanding Consumption as Political and Moral Practice.
Article AbstractThis special issue of the Journal of Consumer Culture addresses the complex intersections and interrelationships that exist among everyday consumption practices, broader ideological structures, and moralistically infused citizenship ideals. The politicized marketplace relationships (and recursive effects) that emanate from these intersections are not reducible to conventional dichotomies between the marketplace and the body politic or between consumption and civic engagement. Building upon this insight, the articles in this special issue cast new theoretical light on how political ideologies and moralistic narratives — often reproducing entrenched class, gender, and racial hierarchies — are institutionalized and contested through consumption practices.
Journal of Consumer Culture (11), 139-144. doi: 10.1177/1469540511403892.
Arsel, Z., & Thompson, C. (2011). Demythologizing Consumption Practices: How Consumers Protect their Field-Dependent Capital from Devaluing Marketplace Myths.
Article AbstractMarketplace myths are commonly conceptualized as cultural resources that attract consumers to a consumption activity or brand. This theoretical orientation is prone to overstating the extent to which consumers' identity investments in a field of consumption are motivated by an associated marketplace myth. We provide a theoretical corrective to this tendency by investigating consumers who have become vested in a commercially mythologized consumption field through an incremental process of building social connections and cultural capital. For these consumers, the prevailing marketplace myth Is experienced as a trivialization of their aesthetic interests, rather than as a source of identity value. In response, they employ demythologizing practices to insulate their acquired field-dependent social and cultural capital from devaluation. Our findings advance theorizations concerning marketplace myths and consumer identity work and explicate the sociocultural forces that deter consumers from abandoning a consumption field that has become culturally associated with undesirable meanings.
Journal of Consumer Research (37), 791-806. doi: 10.1086/656389.
Thompson, C. (2010). Consumer Identity Work as Moral Protagonism: How Myth and Ideology Animate a Brand- Mediated Moral Conflict.
Article AbstractConsumer researchers have tended to equate consumer moralism with normative condemnations of mainstream consumer culture. Consequently, little research has investigated the multifaceted forms of identity work that consumers can undertake through more diverse ideological forms of consumer moralism. To redress this theoretical gap, we analyze the adversarial consumer narratives through which a brand-mediated moral conflict is enacted. We show that consumers’ moralistic identity work is culturally framed by the myth of the moral protagonist and further illuminate how consumers use this mythic structure to transform their ideological beliefs into dramatic narratives of identity. Our resulting theoretical framework explicates identity-value–enhancing relationships among mythic structure, ideological meanings, and marketplace resources that have not been recognized by prior studies of consumer identity work.
Journal of Consumer Research (36), 1016-1032. doi: 10.1086/644761.
Thompson, C., & Coskuner-Balli, G. (2007). Countervailing Market Responses to Corporate Co-optation and the Ideological Recruitment of Consumption Communities. Journal of Consumer Research (34), 135-152. doi: 10.1086/519143.
Thompson, C. (2007). Enchanting Ethical Consumerism: The Case of Community Supported Agriculture. Journal of Consumer Culture (7), 275-300. doi: 10.1177/1469540507081631.
Thompson, C. (2007). A Carnivalesque Approach to the Politics of Consumption. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (408), 112-125. doi: 10.1177/0002716207299303.
Thompson, C., Anrould, E., & Giesler, M. Discursivity, Difference, and the Destabilizing Departures of Dirty Theory: Genealogical Reflections on the CCT Heteroglossia.
Article AbstractWe offer a genealogical perspective on the reflexive critique that CCT has institutionalized a hyperindividualizing, overly agentic, and sociologically impoverished mode of analysis that impedes systematic investigations into the historical, ideological, and sociological shaping of marketing, markets and consumption systems. Our analysis shows that the CCT pioneers embraced the humanistic/experientialist discourse to carve out a disciplinary niche. However, this original epistemological orientation has long given rise to a multi-layered CCT heteroglossia that features a broad range of theorizations integrating structural and agentic levels of analysis. We close with a discussion of how reflexive debates over CCT’s supposed biases towards the agentic that reproduce symbolic distinctions between North American and European scholarship styles and thus primarily reflect the institutional interests of those positioned in the Northern hemisphere. As CCT further integrates discourses from postcolonial and Southern theory scholars, reflexive analyses are now shifting in a direction that more fully recognizes the distinctive theoretical, contextual, and institutional interests of scholars located in the global South. By destabilizing the North-South, center-periphery relations of power that have long framed metropole social science constructions of the marginalized cultural “other” as an object of study—rather than as a producer of legitimate knowledge and theory—the CCT heteroglossia can be further diversified and enriched through a blending of historical, material, critical, and experiential perspectives which Connell characterizes as dirty theory.
Marketing Theory (13), 149-174. doi: 10.1177/1470593113477889.
Thompson, C. The Politics of Consumer Identity Work. Journal of Consumer Research (40), iii-vi.

Presentations


Society for Marketing Advances Annual conference ( 2014 ) Consumer Culture Theory: A Reflection on the Branding of Identity

American Sociological Association Annual Conference ( 2014 ) Can Market Based Alternatives be Transformative?: Plenitude, Participatory Markets, and Rhizomatic Resistance

9th annual Consumer Culture theory Conference ( 2014 ) Hegemonic Masculinity and the Ideological Allure of Retrosexual Marketplace Myths

American Sociological Association Annual Conference ( 2014 ) Thompson, Craig J. and Juliet Schor (2014), "Can Market Based Alternatives be Transformative?: Plenitude, Participatory Markets, and Rhizomatic Resistance

Invited Seminar ( 2013 ) Becoming a Derby Grrrrl: Marketplace Performativities and the Normalization of Gender Transgression

( 2013 ) Becoming a Derby Grrrrl: Marketplace Performativities and the Normalization of Gender Transgression

7th annual Consumer Culture Theory Conference ( 2012 ) Oil Spills as Disaster Myths: Grotesque Realism in Postmodern Consumer Culture

Social Innovations for Sustainable Lifestyle Symposium ( 2011 ) How Community Supported Agriculture Facilitates a Re-embedding and Re-territorializing Vision of Sustainable Consumption

2010 European Conference of the Association of Consumer Research, ( 2010 ) How Servicescape Figurations Mediate Socio-cultural Differences Between Consumers and Aesthetic Labourers

5th Annual Consumer Culture Theory conference ( 2010 ) “Three Waves of CCT: On Transcending Anachronistic Rhetorical Conventions


Undergraduate Courses


Consumer Behavior
Course DescriptionAnalysis of the theories of consumer behavior and their application to marketing decision-making. Psychological, economic, anthropological and sociological perspectives are integrated to enhance understanding of consumer acquisition processes.
(MKT 305), Spring 2005.

Consumer Behavior
Course DescriptionAnalysis of the theories of consumer behavior and their application to marketing decision-making. Psychological, economic, anthropological and sociological perspectives are integrated to enhance understanding of consumer acquisition processes.
(MKT 305), Spring 2004.

Consumer Behavior
Course DescriptionAnalysis of the theories of consumer behavior and their application to marketing decision-making. Psychological, economic, anthropological and sociological perspectives are integrated to enhance understanding of consumer acquisition processes.
(MKT 305), Spring 2004.

Consumer Behavior
Course DescriptionAnalysis of the theories of consumer behavior and their application to marketing decision-making. Psychological, economic, anthropological and sociological perspectives are integrated to enhance understanding of consumer acquisition processes.
(MKT 305), Fall 2002.

Consumer Behavior
Course DescriptionAnalysis of the theories of consumer behavior and their application to marketing decision-making. Psychological, economic, anthropological and sociological perspectives are integrated to enhance understanding of consumer acquisition processes.
(MKT 305), Fall 2002.

Consumer Behavior
Course DescriptionAnalysis of the theories of consumer behavior and their application to marketing decision-making. Psychological, economic, anthropological and sociological perspectives are integrated to enhance understanding of consumer acquisition processes.
(MKT 305), Spring 2002.

Consumer Behavior
Course DescriptionAnalysis of the theories of consumer behavior and their application to marketing decision-making. Psychological, economic, anthropological and sociological perspectives are integrated to enhance understanding of consumer acquisition processes.
(MKT 305 Section 1), Spring 2010.

Consumer Behavior
Course DescriptionAnalysis of the theories of consumer behavior and their application to marketing decision-making. Psychological, economic, anthropological and sociological perspectives are integrated to enhance understanding of consumer acquisition processes.
(MKT 305 Section 2), Spring 2010.

Consumer Beahvior
Course DescriptionAnalysis of the theories of consumer behavior and their application to marketing decision-making. Psychological, economic, anthropological and sociological perspectives are integrated to enhance understanding of consumer acquisition processes.
(MKT 305 Section 2), Spring 2007.

Consumer Behavior
Course DescriptionAnalysis of the theories of consumer behavior and their application to marketing decision-making. Psychological, economic, anthropological and sociological perspectives are integrated to enhance understanding of consumer acquisition processes.
(MKT 305 Section 1), Spring 2008.



Graduate Courses


Seminar-Marketing PhD
Course DescriptionContinuation of Marketing 971.
(MKT 972), Spring 2006.

Seminar-Marketing PhD
Course DescriptionContinuation of Marketing 971.
(MKT 972), Spring 2004.

Seminar-Marketing PhD
Course DescriptionContinuation of Marketing 971.
(MKT 972), Spring 2002.

Seminar-Marketing PhD
Course DescriptionContinuation of Marketing 971.
(MKT 972 Section 1), Spring 2010.

Seminar-Marketing PhD
Course DescriptionContinuation of Marketing 971.
(MKT 972 Section 1), Spring 2008.

Qualitatively-Based Marketing Insights
Course DescriptionUnderstanding and application of in-depth qualitative market research methods, with an emphasis on the interpretation of qualitative data. Provides hands-o experience with different methodological techniques and immersion in a cultural perspective for systematically analyzing data from a marketing perspective.
(MKT 805), Spring 2005.

Qualitatively-Based Marketing Insights
Course DescriptionUnderstanding and application of in-depth qualitative market research methods, with an emphasis on the interpretation of qualitative data. Provides hands-o experience with different methodological techniques and immersion in a cultural perspective for systematically analyzing data from a marketing perspective.
(MKT 805 Section 1), Spring 2007.

Contemporary Topics (MKT 765), Spring 2001.

Contemporary Topics
Course DescriptionContemporary Topics
(MKT 765), Fall 2005.

Contemporary Topics (MKT 765), Spring 2005.

Contemporary Topics
Course DescriptionContemporary Topics
(MKT 765), Fall 2002.



Professional Organizations


Journal of Consumer Research


Editorial and Reviewing Activities


Journal of Consumer Research - June 2011 - June 2017
Associate Editor

Journal of Consumer Culture - Since January 0001
Special Issue Editor


Photograph of Craig Thompson

Craig Thompson

 
Professor | Marketing
Gilbert & Helen Churchill Professor of Marketing
(608) 265-2033
4251 Grainger Hall