Social Media: Enduring Principles, Oxford University Press, 2016

Social Media: Enduring Principles offers a comprehensive overview of topics in social media, ranging from interpersonal communication to the role of social media in culture and society.  It covers not only issues like online identity and community, but also tackles more analytical topics like social media measurement, network analysis, and social media economics at an introductory level. In contrast to other books, Social Media takes a social science approach by providing a synthesis of empirical research conducted in communications, cultural studies, sociology, and psychology. It is also theoretical, in that it bases each chapter on set of social science theories and concepts rather than platform-specific frameworks and findings. By presenting what we know about social media, each chapter sets up questions, examples, and further reading to provoke class discussion and analysis.  Rather than providing the final word or predictive prognostications, it aims to open a well-structured, well-grounded conversation about media transition and its effects. 

Available at Amazon


Automated Text Analysis for Consumer Research with Rebecca Jen-Hui Wang

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming 2017

Web Appendix

Branding Disaster: Re-establishing Trust through the Ideological Containment of Systemic Risk Anxieties with Craig J. Thompson

Journal of Consumer Research, December 2014

Drawing from literary criticism and institutional theory, this article analyzes the public discourse surrounding the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989 and BP Gulf Spill of 2010. While industrial accidents such as oil spills can erode consumers’ trust in experts, a macro-level analysis reveals that media coverage of such events ultimately contains the anxieties that are sparked by initial news coverage. The brand-centric disaster myths generated by media coverage frame public discourse in ways that help to reestablish consumers’ trust in expert systems while also insulating corporations and governmental institutions from more systematic critiques. This analysis contributes to a macro-level theorization of the institutional and ideological structures that shape consumers’ risk perceptions and just world beliefs. It also extends prior accounts of cultural branding by identifying a set of ideological effects that operate in concert with the more commonly discussed therapeutic benefits afforded by marketplace myths.


Framing the Game: Assessing the Impact of Media Frames on Consumer Perceptions of Legitimacy  with Kathryn A. LaTour

Journal of Consumer Research, 2013

How do media frames affect consumer judgments of legitimacy?  Taking a multi-method approach to this question, we conduct a content analysis media frames for discussing online gambling, perform an event analysis, and then assess the causal mechanism for these shifts in two experiments. We find that users and non-users respond differently to frame elements, with users favoring an established frame and non-users favoring a novel, legitimating frame. This suggests that media frames play a critical role in establishing legitimacy at the sociocultural level, and that framing potentially bridges cognitive and normative legitimacy. 


Megamarketing: The Creation of Markets as a Social Process

Journal of Marketing, March 2010

Drawing from institutional theory in sociology, this article theorizes the process of megamarketing—defined by Kotler (1986) as the use of strategic efforts by a firm or firms to gain the cooperation of multiple stakeholders—in order to understand the process by which new industries are created and sustained in a complex social and political context.   


Semiotic Structure and the Legitimation of Consumption Practices: The Case of Casino Gambling

Journal of Consumer Research, June 2010

This study examines the influence of changes in the institutional environment over time on the meaning structures that influence consumer perception and practice. Using discourse analysis of newspaper articles, I find that the regulatory approval of gambling is accompanied by a shift in the semantic categories used to discuss casinos and that journalists play a role in shaping these categories. 

The Intersecting Roles of Consumer and Producer: A Critical Perspective on Co-production, Co-creation, and Prosumption

Sociology Compass, 2008

In this article, we offer a critical analysis of the ways in which the role of producer and consumer may or may not be blurring as a result of these new practices.  Building on Marx’s distinction between “use value” and “exchange value,” we argue that, when consumers perform tasks normally handled by the company, this does not necessarily represent a fundamental change in exchange roles or economic organization. We then identify conditions when an organization’s use of so-called “prosumers” does reflect a fundamental change.   

Current Research

"Wine Worlds: Consumer and Producer Status Games in the Wine Industry" 

"Professional Contests and the Emergence of Social Media as a Professional Field" with Andrew Smith

"The Construction of Value in Attention Economies"

"Access as a Consumer Orientation and Institution"

Other Publications

Humphreys, Ashlee (forthcoming), “Megamarketing” in Encyclopedia of Management, Volume 9 Marketing, New York: Wiley.

Van Riel, A. C., Calabretta, G., Driessen, P. H., Hillebrand, B., Humphreys, A., Krafft, M., & Beckers, S. F. (forthcoming). Consumer perceptions of service constellations: Implications for service innovation. Journal of Service Management, 24(3), 5-5.

Humphreys, Ashlee (2010), "Advertising," in World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago, Illinois: World Book, Inc.

Humphreys, Ashlee (2010), “Co-Producing Experiences,” in Medill on Media Engagement, Edward Malthouse and Abe Peck Eds. Pine Forge Press.

Humphreys, Ashlee (2009), "Stacking the Deck: Gambling in Film and the Legitimation of Casino Gambling," in Explorations in Consumer Culture Theory, John F. Sherry and Eileen Fischer, eds. London ; New York: Routledge.

Harding, Lora and Ashlee Humphreys (2010), “Self-Brand Attraction: An Interpersonal Attraction Approach to Brand Relationships,” Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 37, 68-69.

Humphreys, Ashlee and Robert V. Kozinets (2009), “The Construction of Value in Attention Economies,” Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 36.

Humphreys, Ashlee (2009), “Legitimation and Semiotic Structure,” Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 36.

Mick, David Glen and Ashlee Humphreys (2008), "Consumer Freedom from Consumer Culture Theory Perspectives," Advances in Consumer Research - North American Conference Proceedings, 35, 18-19.

Humphreys, Ashlee (2008), "Understanding Collaboration and Collective Production: New Insights on Consumer Co-Production," Advances in Consumer Research - North American Conference Proceedings, 35, 63-66.

Humphreys, Ashlee and Markus Giesler (2007), "Access Versus Ownership in Consumer Research," Advances in Consumer Research - North American Conference Proceedings, 34, 696-696.




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