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U. of I. to host international consumer behavior conference

3/16/2009 | Jan Dennis, Business & Law Editor | 217-333-0568;

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Consumer behavior in an increasingly buyer-oriented world is the focus of a three-day conference that will bring an international panel of experts to the University of Illinois next month.

“The Global Consumer in a Postmodern World” will examine the growing importance of consumption in people’s lives, and how the rise of consumer entitlement is influencing the global marketplace.

“We’re looking at the lows and highs of consumption around the world, from poverty to luxury goods,” said U. of I. marketing professor Cele Otnes, who organized the conference. “How do consumers cope with different socioeconomic and cultural conditions and how does that affect they way they participate in the marketplace?”

The conference will take place April 23-25 at the U. of I. Business Instructional Facility, at the southwest corner of Sixth and Gregory streets in Champaign. Registration is available online.

Sponsors are the Office of International Programs and Studies, Center for International Business Education & Research, department of business administration, Stellner Research Fund and the Academy for Entrepreneurial Research. The conference is funded through a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Consumer behavior experts scheduled to speak at the conference:

• Eric J. Arnould, an anthropologist and professor of sustainable business practices at the University of Wyoming who studies consumer culture theory.

• Soren Askegaard, co-author of Europe’s leading consumer behavior textbook and a professor of marketing and management at the University of South Denmark.

• Eileen Fischer, a marketing professor at York University in Canada who has written extensively for entrepreneurship and consumer research journals.

• Annamma Joy, a marketing professor at the University of British Columbia whose research includes ethnicity and marketing, and gender and consumption.

• Pauline Maclaran, a University of London marketing professor whose research includes cultural aspects of contemporary consumption.

• Laura Oswald, a U. of I. professor of advertising whose studies include the effect of cultural contexts on consumers’ interpretations of advertisements.

• Madhu Viswanthan, a marketing professor at the U. of I. whose research includes literacy, poverty and marketplace behaviors.

Each speaker will contribute a chapter for a book that will be published later this year, Otnes said.

She says the conference targets students in marketing, as well as anthropology, advertising, psychology, sociology and other disciplines.

“This conference will create an awareness of the breadth of global issues that pertain to consumer research, with real-life applications that range from sociology to communications and urban planning,” Otnes said.

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Editor's note: To contact Cele Otnes, call 217-265-0799; e-mail

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