Emily West

Emily West, Associate Professor
Emily
E.
West
Associate Professor
S324 Integrative Learning Center
413 545-1311 (leave message)
Interests: 

My research interests are in the areas of Promotion, Technology, and Culture; Audiences, Users, and Consumers; and Media and Nationalism. These interests overlap with my course offerings such as Consumer Culture, and Audience Research & Cultural Studies. I am the co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Advertising and Promotional Culture (Routledge, 2013) and my work has appeared in journals such as International Journal of CommunicationHealth CommunicationPopular CommunicationFeminist Media StudiesJournal of Consumer CultureInternational Journal of Cultural Studies, and Social Problems. My current research is about brands and affect in the digital economy.

Education: 

PhD, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Courses Taught: 

Undergraduate: Introduction to Media & Culture, Consumer Culture, Media Audiences, Research Methods

Graduate: Audience Research and Cultural Studies, Consumer Culture

Publications: 

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

West, E. (2022). Buy Now: How Amazon Branded Convenience and Normalized Monopoly. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

West, E. (2021). “Review Pollution: Pedagogy for a Post-Truth Society.” Journal article in special issue of Media and Communication on “Complexity, Hybridity, Liminality: Challenges of Researching Contemporary Promotional Cultures,” (eds. Ian Somerville and Lee Edwards).

West, E. (2019). “Amazon: Surveillance as a Service.” Surveillance & Society, 17(1/2): 27-33.

Braun, J., Coakley, J. and West, E. (2019). “Activism, Advertising, and Far-Right Media: The ­Case of Sleeping Giants.” Media and Communication.

West, E. (2018) “Invitation to Witness: The Role of Subjects in Documentary Representations of the End of Life,” International Journal of Communication, 12: 1481-1500.

Current Projects: 

My forthcoming book is Buy Now: How Amazon Branded Convenience and Normalized Monopoly (The MIT Press, 2022). Amazon is ubiquitous in our daily lives--we stream movies and television on Amazon Prime Video, converse with Alexa, receive messages on our smartphone about the progress of our latest orders. In Buy Now I examine Amazon's consumer-facing services to investigate how Amazon as a brand grew so quickly and inserted itself into so many aspects of our lives even as it faded into the background, becoming a sort of infrastructure that can be taken for granted. Amazon promotes the comfort and care of its customers (but not its workers) to become the ultimate service brand in the digital economy.

My writing about Amazon also appears in a piece about how Amazon offers surveillance as a service in Surveillance & Society, and about customer reviews on Amazon as a form of disinformation in Media and Communication. A second edition, co-edited with Matthew P. McAllister, of The Routledge Companion of Advertising and Promotional Culture is forthcoming in 2023.

Roles: