University of Michigan
Christie Brown’s primary research interest lies in decision-making as a fundamentally social phenomenon, documenting how decision-makers acquire utility from making decisions the right way, e.g. by adhering to social norms. Her dissertation (Stanford Graduate School of Business, 1993) explored the contrasting decision norms within advertising agencies’ creative and account service departments. In 2020-21, she will be advancing this stream of research on decisions as social phenomena, decomposing utility that comes from process utility from consumption utility. Her central claims are a) the total utility derived from a decision reflects utility (or disutility) derived from using a socially normative (or non-normative) procedure, b) that decision norms depend on localized cultural decision practices, and c) that this process is fundamentally social, in that it is enhanced when social exposure is greater. An individual’s social audience will affect the utility from any given decision and the willingness to take that decision. She will be conducting several empirical studies on-line to advance this work.
Brown has been on the faculty at the Ross School of Business since 1998. Her research has been published in Management Science, Marketing Science, Marketing Letters, and Journal of Consumer Research, on whose editorial board she served for nine years.
Magali Della Sudda will be working on a project on conservative ecofeminism and the current issues challenging our understanding of feminism. For a few years, under the banner of “alter-feminism”, different groups of women activists and intellectuals have joined together to reclaim what they call “integral” or “true” feminism in name of nature and conservatism to oppose gender politics. This raises the crucial issue of the ongoing changes within women’s advocacy and feminist organizations. It calls for a fresh conceptual framework to understand the backlash against gender politics and how the conservative narratives fit within the current ecological crisis.
Della Sudda is a permanent researcher in political science at CNRS – Centre Emile Durkheim in Bordeaux and lecturer at the Political Science Institute of Bordeaux (France). She was Marie Curie fellow at the European University Institute of Florence (2009-11) and postdoctoral researcher at Ecole Française de Rome (2008-09). A specialist of social movement studies, she led a national mix-methods research project on the Yellow Vests Movement (2018-20).
More information about Della Sudda can be found on her personal webpage:
A selection of media interviews can be found at: https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4180-gilets-jaunes-a-pioneering-study-of-the-low-earners-revolt
University of Virginia
Lana Swartz will focus on two surprisingly interrelated projects. First, a study on small businesses and the platform economy during the time of COVID-19, including a thread on the moral economy of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Second, a book project on the history (and future) of the Internet as told through the lens of “scams.”
Most of Swartz’s work is about the cultural politics of money and other communication technologies. She has described how financial technologies – from cash to the Diners’ Club card to Venmo to Bitcoin – are informational and symbolic tools that integrate us into (or exclude us from) and shape (and are shaped by) larger social and economic imaginaries. Her book, New Money: How Payment Became Social Media (https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300233223/new-money) was published by Yale University Press in June, 2020. Her co-edited book, Paid: Tales of Dongles, Checks, and Other Money Stuff (https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/paid) was published by MIT Press in April 2017.
Swartz is an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, and a Berggruen fellow at the University of Southern California. Previously, Swartz was a post-doctoral researcher at the Social Media Collective of Microsoft Research New England and a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. She completed a PhD at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and an S.M. in comparative media studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.