1st HCR 1996 – Standing: Fuat Fırat, Doug Holt, Jim Gentry, Cliff Shultz, Bill Kilbourne, Søren Askegaard, Per Østergaard, Russ Belk, Linda Scott, John O’Guinn, Craig Thompson, Hope Schau & Ken Kambara. Sitting:  Eric Arnould, Suzanne Beckmann, Alladi Venkatesh, Colette, Lisa Peñaloza, Güliz Ger, Laurie Meamber & Linda Price.

HCR 2008 is a subjective and aesthetic expression of consumer research, and is this year’s flavour of heretical playfulness.

When we asked Morris Holbrook to situate the ‘heretical’ in his work, he offered this view:  

“I do see my work as a little bit subversive (of capitalistic values based on greed) and heretical (in its lack of concern for managerial relevance and its acceptance of subjective introspection). But, most importantly, I see it as radical (in the sense that it goes back to the roots of marketing thought based on the role of consumption experiences in the creation of customer value).”

The wise Sidney Levy has benignly characterised HCR as an ‘organisational disruption’ by a ‘group of hermeneutic researchers who pride themselves on their heretical outlook’. While that may be true and the label has been consistent, the heretical animal has worn many temporal coats over the years. As part of their conceptual work for the 13th Heretical Consumer Research performance, the co-chairs of HCR 2008 in San Francisco are writing an academic review of the tradition:

The Heretical Heritage:

 Radical Performances of a Consumer Research Incubator

1996 – 2008

We are interviewing the radical idea-makers, critics and past co-chairs of the stream in order to: a) map the development of ‘heretical’ as a concept over time, b) to chart the connections and influences of HCR as an event and c) evaluate the reactions of academia in consumer research to informal incubators and change agents. The main questions we’d like to attempt to answer are:

1. What’s the fluid perception of the axiology of heretical research? How would past initiators personally define the ‘heretical essence’ and how has its meaning changed over the past 13 years?

2. What has been the role of HCR as an incubator of innovative inquiries? What resistances did it propose to challenge as a change agent?

3. In what way have heretical performances supported, cross-fertilized and amalgamated the emergence of currently established themes, paradigms and publication streams (e.g. videography, consumer culture, transformative research, postmodernism, macromarketing, from an American HCR to European HCR etc) between 1996 and 2008. What’s its significance in the innovation web?

4. With the heretical actions as a departure point: what learnings for future idea makers in consumer inquiry may be taken from its interaction with main stage academia? Do heretics graduate or is it a genetic condition……?

The co-chairs are actively approaching the researchers who have played a part in the heretical history, from now until well….. we’re done. If you feel you can offer memories, insights and opinions on this issue, feel free to contact us!


































































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