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Guest Lecture, Tues 1st March: Objects of Desire – Product Design as a Mechanism for Social Legitimation

26 February 2016

2 mins

Our students are invited to attend a guest lecture by Dr. Sarah JS Wilner on Tuesday 1st March, focused on the role of production and representation in design.

Talk Description

Dr. Wilner will present one of her current studies to examine the impact of product design on legitimacy. Using Du Gay’s (1997) circuit of culture framework, she will discuss the role of each factor in the circuit in contributing to moving a product category from readings of stigma to mainstream acceptance.

The study’s findings reveal that designer (producers) can strategically transform a product market manipulating two distinct aspects of materiality: 1) material in relation – the way products visually relate to other products, and 2) material in use – the way that design guides consumer use. She argues that product design can enable legitimacy by drawing symbolic relationships to other products, shaping affordances, and enhancing strategic socio-cultural innovation.

About Dr. Sarah JS Wilner

Wilner 2012 headshotDr. Sarah JS Wilner is a professor of marketing at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics in Waterloo, Ontario (Canada). She holds a PhD in Marketing (with a minor in Product Design); an MBA in Marketing and an undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology. She is also a seasoned manager, having spent almost 20 years managing marketing and communications in a number of public sector organizations, including leading several as executive director.

Dr. Wilner’s research focuses on innovation, design, consumer insight and consumer culture. She favours qualitative methods of inquiry, investigating phenomena by being immersed in them. She conducts ethnographic investigations of organizational practices and marketplace change. In addition to Laurier, she has taught at York University’s Schulich School of Business and the University of Toronto. Her primary teaching areas are in Consumer Behaviour, Brand Management, New Product Development and Qualitative Methods.


Date: Tuesday 1st March 2016

Time: 1pm-4pm

Venue: Loughborough University London

*To register your interest, email Erik Bohemia [E.Bohemia@lboro.ac.uk]

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