For many, the relationships denoted by the term ‘consumer’ were most salient. There was a sense that the boundaries and meanings of this term were deeply in flux, as a consequence of the development of digital technologies. People using social networks, for example, are participating in social interactions, and at the same time are producing data traces that become products of different kinds (often used in advertising). These are far removed from historical figurations of the roles and remits of consumers and producers. Yet the term consumer also carries with it sets of norms and standards around what constitutes ‘good’ or acceptable relations or interactions with service providers. As Iain Bourne’s talk on privacy highlighted, ‘old certainties’ are being transformed by the character of the Internet.
How is the category of consumer being redefined by emerging sociotechnical reconfigurations and how can we productively conceptualise these refigurings as transforming the norms, expectations and rights of consumers, providers, manufacturers, etc.?