Communication Faculty Book-Length Publications (selected works)
Creditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America
by Josh Lauer
Columbia Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism Columbia University Press (July 25, 2017)
The first consumer credit bureaus appeared in the 1870s and quickly amassed huge archives of deeply personal information. Today, the three leading credit bureaus are among the most powerful institutions in modern life — yet we know almost nothing about them. Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are multi-billion-dollar corporations that track our movements, spending behavior, and financial status. This data is used to predict our riskiness as borrowers and to judge our trustworthiness and value in a broad array of contexts, from insurance and marketing to employment and housing.
In "Creditworthy," the first comprehensive history of this crucial American institution, Josh Lauer explores the evolution of credit reporting from its nineteenth-century origins to the rise of the modern consumer data industry. By revealing the sophistication of early credit reporting networks, "Creditworthy" highlights the leading role that commercial surveillance has played — ahead of state surveillance systems — in monitoring the economic lives of Americans. Lauer charts how credit reporting grew from an industry that relied on personal knowledge of consumers to one that employs sophisticated algorithms to determine a person's trustworthiness. Ultimately, Lauer argues that by converting individual reputations into brief written reports — and, later, credit ratings and credit scores—credit bureaus did something more profound: they invented the modern concept of financial identity. "Creditworthy" reminds us that creditworthiness is never just about economic "facts." It is fundamentally concerned with — and determines — our social standing as an honest, reliable, profit-generating person.
Interorganizational Collaboration: Complexity, Ethics, and Communication
by Renee Guarriello Heath and Matthew G. Isbell
Waveland Press, Inc. (March 13, 2017)
Unique in their approach to unraveling the complexity of collaboration, Heath and Isbell introduce novice readers to foundational concepts centered around three key assertions: interorganizational collaboration is complex and warrants study as a specific type of leadership and communication, successful collaborative relationships are grounded in a principled ethic of democratic and egalitarian participation, and interorganizational collaboration requires a specific communication language of practice.
From a constructionist stance, the authors delineate interorganizational collaboration as influenced by increased interconnectedness, shifting organizational needs, and a changing workforce. Unlike group and organizational texts that approach collaboration from a functional or strategic perspective, this insightful text anchors collaboration in the assumption that democratic and principled communication fosters creative and accountable outcomes.
Readers will cultivate their ability to recognize and validate the needs of others, separate people's positions from underlying interests, listen for things never quite said, identify overlapping commonalities, build trust while respecting difference, navigate conflict, and plan for contingencies. They will be ready to participate in constructive collaborations and make the best decisions based on specific circumstances.
The Motherhood Business: Consumption, Communication & Privilege
edited by Anne Teresa Demo, Jennifer L. Borda and Charlotte Kroløkke
The University of Alabama Press (2015)
excerpt from book jacket:The Motherhood Business follows the harried mother’s path into the anxious maelstrom of intelligent toys, healthy foods and meals, and educational choices. It also traces how some enterprising mothers leverage cultural capital and rhetorical vision to create thriving baby- and child-based businesses of their own, as evidenced by the rise of mommy bloggers and “mompreneurs”over the last decade. Starting with the rapidly expanding global fertility market, The Motherhood Business explores the intersection of motherhood, consumption, and privilege in the context of fertility tourism, international adoption, and transnational surrogacy. The synergy between motherhood and the marketplace demonstrated across the essays affirms the stronghold of “intensive mothering ideology” in decisions over what mothers buy and how they brand their businesses even as that ideology evolves. Across diverse contexts, the volume also identifies how different forms or privilege shape how mothers construct their identities through their consumption and entrepreneurship.
The Coordinated Management of Meaning: A Festschrift in Honor of W. Barnett Pearce
Edited by Stephen W. Littlejohn and Sheila McNamee
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (November 2013)
This book honors the life and work of the late W. Barnett Pearce, a leading theorist in the communication field. The book is divided into four sections. The first section will lead with an essay by Barnett Pearce. This will be followed by sections on (1) practical theory, (2) dialogue, and (3) social transformation. In the broadest sense, these are probably the three general themes found in the work of Pearce and his colleagues. In another sense, these categories also identify three important dimensions of Pearce's major contribution, the theory of the Coordinated Management of Meaning.
Understanding Occupy from Wall Street to Portland: Applied Studies in Communication Theory
edited by Renee Guarriello Heath, Courtney Vail Fletcher, and Ricardo Munoz
Lexington Books (August 28, 2013)
Given the centrality of economics and communication in the Occupy movement, Understanding Occupy from Wall Street to Portland uses economic insights and contemporary theories of communication to better understand the movement at this current juncture in history. This collection is organized by complementary theoretical and methodological perspectives: the global—critical cultural and economic understandings of Occupy; the local—interpretive ethnographic examinations of a local site—Occupy Portland, Oregon; and mediated perspectives—analyses of the words of officials and media. The contributors also examine social movement phenomena by stepping outside of social movement theory to analyze the macro- and microprocesses of the Occupy movement, demonstrating the saliency of communication theory. Throughout the volume are in-depth case studies that examine universal narratives about Occupy. One of the challenges of studying Occupy is that members of this movement are committed to not allowing any one person (or entity) to define it. One way the editors acknowledge this and attempt to honor the individualism and postmodern fragmentation of this movement is to consider their findings in light of the three interpretive lenses of the romantic, functional, and critical. This informative and comprehensive text provides a critical lens on the constantly evolving Occupy movement.
Winner of the Outstanding Edited Book award from the International and Intercultural Communication Division of the National Communication Association