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Discriminating technologies: Personal information in an age of computer profiling

Greg Elmer, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The doctoral dissertation critically investigates the processes, sites and technologies of consumer profiling. Technologically speaking, the dissertation focuses on the means by which individual consumption patterns and histories (demographic and psychographic data) are automatically solicited into computerized databases and networks. In addition to providing a historical perspective on consumer profiling or solicitation technologies (from product registration cards and mail-in coupons to point-of-sale scanners, smart cards, computer databases and registration sites on the world wide web), the dissertation also attempts to theorize the spatial, international and politically discriminatory dimensions of consumer profiling. In so doing, the dissertation analyzes a number of niche marketing and consumer profiling campaigns that attempt to construct maps of targeted consumer markets in trans-national territories and cyberspace.

Subject Area

Mass media|Information Systems

Recommended Citation

Elmer, Greg, "Discriminating technologies: Personal information in an age of computer profiling" (2000). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9960748.