Transformative Consumer Research 2017


Call for Track Proposals, Cornell University, 18-20 Jun 2017; Deadline 15 Aug

Call for TCR “Track” Proposals
Cornell University, USA
June 18 – June 20, 2017


  • Brian Wansink, Cornell University
  • Brennan Davis, Cal Poly
  • Julie L. Ozanne, University of Melbourne

The 2017 Transformative Consumer Research (TCR) conference organizers are seeking co-chairs for individual tracks for the next TCR conference to be held at Cornell on June 18 – 20, 2017. It is our hope to connect the 2017 TCR conference with the 2017 Frontiers in Service conference to be held in New York City.

The track co-chairs will be responsible for (a) defining a specific theme or project that the track’s group members will discuss at the conference, (b) helping to select group members for the track, (c) presenting a summary of the track members’ ideas at the end of the conference, and (d) organizing the pre- and post-conference activities. Please carefully read this call because we continue to refine the conference model. The 2017 TCR conference will continue to use the dialogical (interactive) format that was successful in past conferences. New track chairs and themes are encouraged. Preference will be for proposals that have at least one co-chair experienced in publishing high quality work and the willingness and ability to run dialogical sessions. Generally tracks have two chairs but on occasion the tracks are led by three people. Track chairs with different levels of experience are encouraged to apply (this format is the more grassroots, bottom-up process that was used in Villanova University at TCR 2015). This onference continues the practice of reserving spots for junior scholars, including senior doctoral students, to create mentorship opportunities and build capacity. See the final page of this document for a list of past TCR tracks.

Rather than the traditional conference in which the expertise of a few people is explored, these dialogical tracks seek to explore the distributed intelligence across a group of people who share an interest in the social issue. Additional information on TCR and dialogical conferences can be found on the ACR website:

If you are interested in serving as a track co-chair, please email a 1 -page overview of your theme and plans for a post-conference write-up. For track 1, please include cochairs’ resumes and a 1 -paragraph biography. For track 2, please include all track members’ resumes, a 1-paragraph biography, and a signed letter that they are committed to participating in the project. Submit your proposals by August 15 to Brennan Davis (

We will notify conference track applicants by September 15. We will announce a call for individual applications to these tracks on October 1 , due on November 15. We will notify participation applicants by December 21, 2016. As in past conferences, participants along with ALL of the track chairs must commit to working in person with their track throughout the entire time of the conference. Tracks choose their own post-conference publication goals. One goal option is typically submission to a special issue on transformative consumer research. Generally track participants have the opportunity to opt into a goal but they must make a significant contribution to claim authorship.

Opportunities for doing a special journal issue associated with the 2017 TCR conference are being investigated. For those people unfamiliar with the dialogical TCR conference, each conference typically produces at least one special issue. For examples, see the special issues of the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing (spring 2011), the Journal of Business Research (issue 66, 2013), and the Journal of Marketing Management (volume 30, issue 17-18, 2014). The next special issue, a product of the 2015 TCR conference, will be in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing (forthcoming). TCR published a special issue in the Journal of Consumer Research (2008).

Two TCR Themes for Track Proposals

1) Relational Engagement to Escalate Societal Impact

In the past, we have supported tracks in the following substantive issues and areas: wastefulness, alternative food systems, poverty, moral self-regulation, narratives in nonprofits, transformative services and justice, mindfulness, crimes of omission and commission, life satisfaction, social conflict, environmental sustainability and justice, religion, stigma, developing markets, health, food well-being, ethnicity, vulnerability, addiction, transformative methods, materialism, social justice, and immigration. In 2017, proposals for tracks will be invited for these and new social topics.

The unifying theme for this conference is Relational Engagement to Escalate Societal Impact. We posit that transformative consumer researchers aiming to increase the societal impact of their scholarship should engage directly with relevant stakeholders. For maximum societal effect, this engagement needs to occur both within the research process and throughout the entire course of impact, from the creation, awareness, and use of knowledge to societal impact. The relational engagement approach involves the cocreation of research with audiences beyond academia. Thus, we encourage each track to include nonacademic stakeholders creatively in some part of the process. For example, rather than proposing a track to study a particular topic on poverty and disseminating findings to advocacy groups, a track might invite the leader of a poverty advocacy group to the TCR track and scaffold the research creation, awareness, use and societal impact around dialog that includes academics and nonacademics. We welcome track proposals that include an academic and a nonacademic as track chairs. Or tracks may be chaired by academics who invite a nonacademic stakeholder to participate. We welcome novel ideas. In the past, tracks invited guests including industry representatives, crossdisciplinary scholars, representatives from nonprofits, and consumer activists. Or, prior to the conference, focus groups or interviews might be done with stakeholders closest to the problem to create relevant research with greater catalytic validity. Or an organization or community group could form a partnership with the track to participate in a study that could be designed during the conference. We do not really know the magic formulas that create research that ends up having societal impact; these tracks are spaces of opportunity to experiment.

In addition to focusing on social problems, we also encourage pro-social ideas as track topics, such as the arts, social entrepreneurship, altruism, the sharing economy, to name a few.

Given that this theme encourages relational engagement, we imagine that track sizes will be smaller (around 4-6 academics and 1 -3 nonacademics), including track chairs.

2) Action and Engagement

We encourage tracks that experiment with new ways to do team-based research toward real transformation. We invite track proposals that either further empirical work in key substantive areas, or develop action components.

For example, given that the call for proposals is 9 months before the conference, a viable proposal could involve a multi-site empirical study prior to the TCR 2017. This might be the cross-cultural exploration of new models of sustainable consumption, or an urban, suburban, and rural exploration of experiences of poverty or materialism. These proposals would identify and get commitment from a team of researchers who would gather data before the conference. The conference could then provide an opportunity for a writing or data analysis workshop.

Another viable idea would be to identify a team of researchers who wanted to submit a grant proposal, write a book, or propose a documentary. The conference could offer the pportunity to be a workshop for a set of researchers identified prior to the conference by the track organizers. Still another idea would be to review existing research and use the conference time to work with a team to do a research-driven intervention or action research project. These are but a few of the possible ideas that would further the deep goals of TCR of engaged scholarship that has real impact.

Unlike the dialogical tracks that would be competitive and larger, these proposals would involve longer-term projects and involve teams of researchers who make a commitment to work on this longer project. There will be no open call for track members in this category. Instead, members of the tracks would be identified as part of the track proposal. Proposals should include written and signed commitments from each member of the proposed track that they agree to work on the project across its duration. Proposals that have invited scholars across a range of expertise and experience will also be reviewed favorably. Proposals should include a list of pre-conference organizing plans along with a time line.

Past Conferences and Funding Model

To date, five TCR conferences have been held. TCR 2015 at Villanova was over 200 participants, 18 tracks and 15 post-conference submissions to the special issue at the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. TCR 2017 will be larger and will use a pay-toplay model. We will work to keep conference costs low and provide some scholarships to doctoral students.

June 18 – June 20, 2017

Proposed Structure


    Track 1: TCR champions will set up a listserv for their track, share all the research visions, and circulate any relevant materials (e.g., key articles)

    Track 2: TCR champions will work with their members to prepare for the conference based on the plans proposed in their track

June 18 Sunday

    Arrival from 2pm to 5pm

    Evening activity: Cocktail party/light dinner

June 19 Monday

    Morning meeting from 9am to 12pm

      Dialogical working sessions

    Box lunch and informal socializing from 12:15pm to 1:30pm

    Afternoon from 2pm to 5pm

      Dialogical working sessions

    Evening activity: Cocktail party and light dinner with poster session by two members of each team of scholars. Other members will seek novel ideas by moving among the poster discussions of different teams

June 20 Tuesday Morning meeting from 9am to 12pm

    Dialogical working sessions

Box lunch and wrap up to bring groups together from 12:30 to 2pm

Depart at 2:30pm

The Conference Site and Lodging

The Cornell Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management is located in Ithaca, New York.


Costs are still being estimated but the plan is to keep costs as low as possible. The current plan is to charge a fee of $425, covering the conference fee and on-campus residential hall accommodations and dining from June 18-20. . All travel, including to and from the campus, is the responsibility of attendees. We will offer some scholarship opportunities to doctoral student, community and government participants for fees and travel.


Inquiries or questions can be directed to the conference chair:

Brennan Davis or Julie Ozanne

A Post-Conference Workshop on Knowledge Dissemination

Before the TCR conference, a 1-day workshop will be held on the Cornell campus.


2015 TCR Conference: Alternative Food Systems, Children and Materialism, Crimes of Omission and Commission, Environmental Sustainability and Justice, Gender, Health Multimorbidity, Life Satisfaction, Maladaptive Behavior, Mindfulness, Moral SelfRegulation, Narratives in Nonprofits, Poverty: Intersectional Poverty, Poverty: Agencies and Ecological Space in Poverty, Poverty: Consumer Psychology of Poverty, Religion, Social Conflict, Stigma: Identity at the Interaction of Stigmas and the Marketplace, Stigma: Stigma and Marketplace Practices, Teaching, Transformative Services and Justice: Services, Transformative Services and Justice: Vulnerability, and Wastefulness.

For more details, see the original 2015 TCR conference website:

Note: this is a link to a PAST conference call for individual submissions to tracks; many tracks were subscribed enough to split into multiple subtracks: poverty, stigma, and transformative services and justice.

2013 TCR Conference: Developing Markets, Ethnicity, Family, Health and Nutrition, Innovative Research Methods, Materialism, Poverty, Sustainability, and Vulnerability.

2011 TCR Conference: Addiction, Adolescent Risk, Food and Health, Materialism, Innovative Research Methods, Multicultural Marketplaces, Poverty and Subsistence Marketplaces, Sustainable Products, and Transformative Services Research.

2009 TCR Conference: Developing Markets, Food, Health, Immigration, Poverty, Materialism, Social Justice, Sustainability, and Vulnerability.