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The devil and customer relationship management

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2010
JournalJournal of Cultural Economy
Journal number3
Volume3
Number of pages21
Pages339-359
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The paper takes as its starting point the diffusion of ICT applications associated with so-called ‘customer relationship management’ (CRM). CRM encourages organisations to shift their understanding of customers from an episodic and transaction-based perspective to one that emphasises continuous ‘relationship management’. CRM applications thus promise to deliver more, real-time accurate information about consumer habits and behaviours therefore allowing organisations to maximise their extraction of business value. This paper explores the ways in which such inscriptive technologies are not merely referential but also constitutive of contemporary re-presentations and ideals of the consuming subject. Focusing on what we might call the ‘digital doubles’ of customer relationship management the authors explore how such inscriptive apparatuses simultaneously work to perform an image of the consuming subject, whilst also appearing endemically prone to instability and representational excess. Through an investigation of managerial imagery of computer enabled CRM, the paper explores the ways in which ambiguity and ambivalence continue to haunt advances in corporate technologies of surveillance and tele-control.