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date: 14 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

What does “consumer culture” mean? Until now, consumer culture has been understood as some immaterial ideas, feelings, ideologies, knowledge, and so on. This article proposes to depart from this classic view of culture by referring to what the word means in biology and farming. It shows indeed that marketing is about “cultivating” consumers. Marketing does so by using different market strategies and market devices that play on consumers’ dispositions, of course, but that also shape and redefine consumers’ calculation, “qualculation,” and “calqulation.” In the two latter words, “qual” insists on some qualitative aspects involved in economic decision; “calq” refers to the French verb calquer, meaning “tracing” (like when using tracing paper): in several instances, consumers do not calculate alone but rather decide collectively with partners, by adjusting (tracing) their calculation to those of the others: they calqulate. The chapter reviews each notion and refers it to previous and current works. These words invite study of calculation in the making; they help to understand that economic decisions involve the agents who calculate, the agencies they mobilize to do so, and the actors who work hard to have them calculating the way they wish.

Keywords: calculation, qualculation, calqulation, market devices, cultivation

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