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Algorithmic classifications in credit marketing: How marketing shapes inequalities

Article by Léna Pellandini-Simanyi published in Marketing Theory (2023), 24(2), 211-232. 


While critical marketing studies have discussed algorithm-driven marketing’s role in governmentality, subjectivity formation and capitalist accumulation, its role in shaping class inequalities is less studied. Drawing on the performativity of marketing, ‘classification situations’ and critical algorithm studies, this paper uses the case of credit marketing to propose a twofold framework to analyse how algorithmic marketing shapes the cultural and economic inequalities of class. First, algorithms used for categorizing consumers and matching them with marketing messages and products provide access (1) to different symbolic resources and (2) to credit products with different financial consequences to different consumers depending on their categorization, which contribute to the creation of cultural and economic inequalities, respectively. Second, algorithms of financial advice devices overtake parts of consumer choice. Insofar as different financial preferences and rationalities are scripted into the devices for different client groups, these technologies constitute an additional process that affects social divisions.

Scripting the habitus: Class and financial decision-making in the age of digital consumption

Paper by Léna Pellandini-Simányi, Cristina Paradiso and Robert Musil published in Consumer Culture Theory Conference Proceedings (2023).


Prior studies explain class differences in financial consumer choices by differences in the habitus and decision-making rationales. We show that in the age of digital choice-aiding devices, social patterns of financial choices are increasingly co-produced by the different scripts of the financial devices targeted at different social classes.

Consumer empowerment, domination and resistance in digital-consumer interactions: A comparison of key theoretical frameworks

Paper by Cristina Paradiso and Léna Pellandini-Simányi published in Consumer Culture Theory Conference Proceedings (2024). 


This paper provides a comparative analysis of the two main theoretical frameworks - Foucauldian and socio-material – used to analyze domination, resistance and empowerment in the context of human-digital interactions in the Consumer Culture Theory literature.

In the Media

Lena Pellandini-Simanyi talked to Rete2 radio about growing lay investment and digitalization. Listen to the interview here

Lena Pellandini-Simanyi talked Corriere del Ticino about digital shopping apps. Read the interview here