The Market will Have you: The Arts of Market Attachment in a Digital Economy

McFall, Liz and Deville, Joe (2017). The Market will Have you: The Arts of Market Attachment in a Digital Economy. In: Cochoy, Franck; Deville, Joe and McFall, Liz eds. Markets and the Arts of Attachment. CRESC: Culture, Economy and the Social. Abingdon: Routledge.


‘Click stream: an enormous, imperfect recreation of a man’s brain. Digital DNA. You are the numbers, John. Accessible in a million ways, all ones and zeros. Where you go, what you do there, questions asked, money spent, the brand of beer you drink. You are on show John, in an infinite number of ways. The most visible person imaginable. And right now someone is watching. (KD 2014: 257)

What can it possibly mean to say that the market will have you? Accustomed as we are to hearing about the havoc markets wreak upon social institutions, communities and individuals, it could perhaps signal the thuggishness of markets as in ‘h’ dropped, the market “is gonna ‘ave you”. There is of course a whole tradition in economic sociology and anthropology from Polanyi onwards of seeing what markets do this way. But since in this collection we are concerned with seeing how market exchange produces, rather than dissolves or proceeds from, social ties, that is not the path we are taking.

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