Emily West

Headshot of Dr. Emily West
Professor, Graduate Program Director
S324 Integrative Learning Center
413 545-1311 (leave message)

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 author of Buy Now: How Amazon Branded Convenience and Normalized Monopoly (MIT Press, 2022) and co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Advertising and Promotional Culture (Routledge, 2023). My research also appears 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, platforms, and affect in the digital economy.


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, Media Theories



West, E. and McAllister, M.P. (2023). The Routledge Companion to Advertising and Promotional Culture, 2nd edition. New York: Routledge.

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.

Current Projects: 

I recently published 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, in an essay about Amazon's climate corporate accountability images in a forthcoming anthology Amazon: At the Intersection of Culture and Capital (eds. Paul Smith, Alexander Monea, and Maillim Santiago), and about customer reviews on Amazon as a form of disinformation in Media and Communication

The Routledge Companion of Advertising and Promotional Culture, 2nd edition co-edited with Matthew P. McAllister, was published in 2023. This 30 chapter volume includes a co-authored chapter between myself and doctoral students Lizhen Zhao and Alkim Yalin on "Ecommerce Goes Social: Livestreaming as a Hybrid Promotional Form."