Dr Anne Cronin


Research Interests

Research overview

My key area of research is promotional culture – this encompasses the strands of advertising, marketing and public relations. Working in these areas I have contributed to debates in advertising, consumer culture, visual culture, cultural economy, gender studies and urban studies.

The key question which orients my research is:

How can an analysis of promotional culture illuminate the logics of neoliberal capitalism and practices of marketisation?

Current research

I am currently researching the Public Relations industry and its relationship to contemporary advertising, marketing and promotional culture in the context of neoliberal capitalism. The PR industry has expanded rapidly in recent years and its practices have shifted to address a range of social and technological changes (eg public cynicism towards mainstream media and ‘spin’, public disengagement from diverse civic institutions, and the rise of social media). My analysis explores the new interface that PR creates between commercial culture and the political culture of democracy. This is a form of 'commercial democracy' that engenders new articulations of (political) representation, voice, engagement and values.

My key research concerns are summaried in the following books (see full publication list elsewhere):

Cronin, Anne M. (2018) Public Relations Capitalism: Promotional Culture, Publics and Commercial Democracy. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Cronin, Anne M. (2010) Advertising, Commercial Spaces and the Urban, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cronin, Anne M. (2004) Advertising Myths: The Strange Half-Lives of Images and Commodities, London & New York: Routledge.

Cronin, Anne M. (2000) Advertising and Consumer Citizenship: Gender, Images and Rights, London & New York: Routledge

Edited book:

Cronin, A.M. & K. Hetherington (eds) (2008) Consuming the Entrepreneurial City: Image, Memory, Spectacle. New York: Routledge.

Previous Projects

FRIENDSHIP PROJECT. This project explores friendships as forms of social ties that are not captured by (academic or popular) narratives of family or narratives of romance. Most often analysed as relationships that facilitate social capital, I'm instead thinking of friendships as forms that create spaces in particular ways and function as ways of orienting people's interspersonal and emotional experience. Results of the project show interesting and under-explored aspects of people's personal lives. The first article explores how specific contexts, such as the workplace, strongly shape people's friendship practices and examines how emotions are produced intersubjectively in friendship relationships (see publications list). Other articles in progress examine how friendships are not only gendered, but are active in producing gender, and how friendship creates specific forms of spatial imaginaries.

ADVERTISING AND URBAN SPACE. This project was an ESRC-funded analysis of advertising and spatiality, focusing on outdoor advertising in and around cities (published as the book: Advertising, Commercial Spaces and the Urban, 2010, Palgrave Macmillan). It focuses, firstly, on how outdoor advertising companies' market research practices perform urban spaces and produce certain relationalities with imagined consumers that are spatialised and temporalised. And, secondly, it explores the way in which outdoor advertising - on billboards, panels, buses, building 'wraps' - organises urban space and draws on certain commodity logics, rearticulating the mapping of cities and people's experience of those time-spaces. And, thirdly, the book explores the commercial practices of the industry's actors and how they perform market relationships in the context of neo-capitalism. In the book, I develop ways of thinking about the relationship between visuality, space, and commercial practices, and explore the synergies and tensions between 'public space' and 'commercial space'. I frame outdoor advertising as a kind of 'commercial vernacular' that expresses not only capitalist logics, but also people's more diffuse and potentially resistant experiences of cities.

I have also published an edited collection on consumption and the city with Kevin Hetherington called Consuming the Entrepreneurial City: Image, Memory and Spectacle and a co-edited special issue of Feminist Review called 'Urban Space' (With Liz Oakley-Brown).


British Academy Small Grant

2011-12 Project: Friendship, Social Ties and Urban Experience

ESRC Grant

2006-7 Project: Advertising and the city: making the symbolic and political economies of urban spaces

AHRC Research Leave Award (2001-2): Dangerous Images: Advertising, Addiction and the Compulsive Self.

Public Relations Capitalism: Promotional Culture, Publics and Commercial Democracy
Cronin, A.M. 24/01/2018 Cham : Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN: 9783319726366. Electronic ISBN: 9783319726373.

Reputational capital in 'the PR University': public relations and market rationalities
Cronin, A.M. 06/2016 In: Journal of Cultural Economy. 9, 4, p. 396-409. 14 p.
Journal article

Gendering friendship: couple culture, heteronormativity and the production of gender
Cronin, A. 12/2015 In: Sociology. 49, 6, p. 1167-1182. 16 p.
Journal article

‘Domestic friends’: women’s friendships, motherhood and inclusive intimacy
Cronin, A. 08/2015 In: The Sociological Review. 63, 3, p. 662-679. 18 p.
Journal article

Distant friends, mobility and sensed intimacy
Cronin, A. 2015 In: Mobilities. 10, 5, p. 667-685. 19 p.
Journal article

Between friends: making emotions intersubjectively
Cronin, A. 02/2014 In: Emotion, Space and Society. 10, p. 71-78. 8 p.
Journal article

Publics and publicity: outdoor advertising and urban space
Cronin, A. 2013 In: Public Space, Media Space. Palgrave Macmillan p. 265-276. ISBN: 978-1137027757.

Researching urban space, reflecting on advertising: a photo essay
Cronin, A. 11/2011 In: Space and Culture. 14, 4, p. 356-366. 11 p.
Journal article

Urban spaces: Gender, genre, meditation
Cronin, A., Oakley-Brown, L. 10/2010 In: Feminist Review. 96, p. 1-5. 5 p.
Journal article

Advertising and the metabolism of the city: urban spaces, commodity rhythms
Cronin, A. 2010 In: Urban Studies Society. London : Sage ISBN: 9781847872579.

Advertising, Commercial Spaces and the Urban
Cronin, A. 2010 Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan. 215 p. ISBN: 9780230216808.

Currencies of commercial exchange: advertising agencies and the promotional imperative
Cronin, A. 2009 In: Critical marketing studies. London : Sage ISBN: 9781847875709.

Gender in the making of commercial worlds : creativity, vitalism and the practices of marketing.
Cronin, A.M. 12/2008 In: Feminist Theory. 9, 3, p. 293-312. 20 p.
Journal article

Calculative spaces : cities, market relations, and the commercial vitalism of the outdoor advertising industry.
Cronin, A.M. 11/2008 In: Environment and Planning A. 40, 11, p. 2734-2750. 17 p.
Journal article

Mobility and Market Research : Outdoor Advertising and the Commercial Ontology of the City.
Cronin, A.M. 1/03/2008 In: Mobilities. 3, 1, p. 95-115. 21 p.
Journal article

Consuming the entrepreneurial city: image, memory and spectacle.
Cronin, A., Hetherington, K. 2008 New York : Routledge. 305 p. ISBN: 9780415955188 , 9780415955195.

Urban space and entrepreneurial property relations: resistance and the vernacular of outdoor advertising and graffiti
Cronin, A. 2008 In: Consuming the entrepreneurial city. New York : Routledge ISBN: 9780415955188.

Rags and refuse : the newspaper, empire, and nineteenth century commodity culture.
Cronin, A.M. 1/11/2006 In: Cultural Studies. 20, 6, p. 574-598. 25 p.
Journal article

Advertising and the metabolism of the city: urban spaces, commodity rhythms.
Cronin, A.M. 1/08/2006 In: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 24, 4, p. 615-632. 18 p.
Journal article

Urban advertising : a machine for thinking?
Cronin, A.M. 2006 In: Urban Design. 97, p. 10-11. 2 p.
Journal article

Konsumerismin "pakkoyksilöllisyys" : naiset, tahto ja mahdollisuus [Consumerism and "compulsory individuality" : women, will and potential]
Cronin, A. 2005 In: Lähikuva. 2, p. 37-51. 15 p.
Journal article

Regimes of Mediation : Advertising Practitioners as Cultural Intermediaries?
Cronin, A.M. 12/2004 In: Consumption, Markets and Culture. 7, 4, p. 349-369. 21 p.
Journal article

Currencies of commercial exchange: advertising agencies and the promotional imperative.
Cronin, A.M. 1/11/2004 In: Journal of Consumer Culture. 4, 3, p. 339-360. 22 p.
Journal article

Advertising Myths: The Strange Half -Lives of Images and Commodities.
Cronin, A. 2004 Routledge. 152 p. ISBN: 0415281741.

The substance of consumption : alchemy, addiction and the commodity.
Cronin, A. 09/2002 In: International Journal of Cultural Studies. 5, 3, p. 316-335. 20 p.
Journal article

Consumer rights/cultural rights : a new politics of European belonging.
Cronin, A. 08/2002 In: European Journal of Cultural Studies. 5, 3, p. 307-323. 17 p.
Journal article

Advertising and consumer citizenship: gender, images, and rights.
Cronin, A. 2000 London : Routledge. 179 p.

Advertising difference - women and 'consumer citizenship' in Western Europe.
Cronin, A. 2000 In: All the world and her husband : women in twentieth-century consumer culture. London : Cassell p. 162-176. 15 p. ISBN: 0304701521.

Consumerism and Compulsory Individuality: Women, will and potential.
Cronin, A. 2000 In: Thinking through feminism. London : Routledge p. 273-287. 15 p. ISBN: 041522067X.

Seeing through transparency : performativity, vision and intent.
Cronin, A. 02/1999 In: Cultural Values. 3, 1
Journal article

Temporalities of the visual and spaces of knowledge: branding "the third dimension" in advertising
Cronin, A. 02/1997 In: Space and Culture. 1, 1, p. 85-94. 10 p.
Journal article