Prof. Dr. Caroline Wiertz Cass Business School | University of London
“Cultured Robots: Exploring the Role of Temporality in Market Systems”
Market systems research focuses on how discursive negotiations among market stakeholders spur change and determine what becomes “valuable and virtuous” or “worthless and immoral”. Surprisingly, we know little about the role of temporality in market change and its impact on market speeds. Based on a comparative discourse analysis of news media coverage of robots in Britain (3,023 articles) and the United States (2,104 articles), we find that market systems create culturally informed discourses about the future, which in turn establish the moral regime within which market stakeholders must operate. The moral regime in a local cultural context is a consensus on the resources available to describe desirable and disagreeable future outcomes of market-driven change. We find that the US is morally permissive towards robot technologies by highlighting their potential to contribute to a service-oriented convenience society. The UK is morally restrictive towards the same technologies by invoking the UK’s class system and highlighting robot technologies’ potential to take away workers’ rights and work itself. UK market stakeholders want the future to slow down, while US market stakeholders want it to speed up. As a result, we observe that market systems function as “time machines” that determine market speeds, i.e., how fast the future is permitted to arrive in a particular cultural context.
Caroline Wiertz is a Professor of Marketing, the Head of the Marketing Group, and an Associate Dean at Cass Business School, City, University of London. Her main research interests lie in the areas of consumer research and digital and social media marketing. Her work has been published in leading academic journals, including the Journal of Consumer Research, Marketing Science, the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, and the International Journal of Research in Marketing. She is a member of the Editorial Review Board of the International Journal of Research in Marketing, the Journal of Interactive Marketing and the Journal of Business Research.