| 17.04.2018

A piece of furniture is never just an object

When I step in to Anu Norrgrann’s office, she sits behind her desk, which is covered by layers of paper piles and books.

”Sorry for this, I am in the middle of an urgent proofreading round right now”, she says. She is just about to leave in a book manuscript about autoethnography that she has been editing with her colleague Henna Syrjälä.

Anu works as an assistant professor at the department of marketing at Hanken in Vaasa where she started 2013 after a long working period in the University of Vaasa. She has also studied economic geography at Åbo Akademi University, and worked at the University of Helsinki’s Ruralia institute in Seinäjoki.


Anu Norrgrann at the Department of Marketing in Vaasa.


”When I get the book out of my hands, I’ll get back on my paper about object agency in home assemblage. It tells about how consumers construct their homes: what different materials mean for them, what kind of processes they go through when purchasing furniture – why people buy things to their homes, in general. I have always been interested in how and why people decorate their homes”, she explains. ”A piece of furniture is never just an object. It has a larger social context which makes it much more important.”

In addition, Anu has another interesting theme in her hands: a book chapter about gluttony. That sounds a bit of an extraordinary research topic for a marketing scholar, I wonder. ”Well, does it?”, she asks. ”The book is about the seven deadly sins in consumption. Our idea is to show how marketers use excesses: for example, supermarkets bake some of the bread only for getting the scent of fresh bread in the store. That is not very ecological, is it?” The book is a nonfiction book targeted for everyone interested in consumption.

Anu tells that she uses a large amount of her working time in teaching. She is one of the four teachers at the department, and they all have to be generalists in their subject to be able to take care of the whole study program. This year she teaches for example consumer behaviour, brand management, and community management.

Despite of her hard work pace, Anu is very content with the department and its atmosphere. ”We have a family-like feeling here. Everybody knows and greets each other, and also the students feel like it is easy to get along with everybody and come to talk if they need to. The community spirit is strong and warm here.”

Annamari Huovinen


More about Anu’s research:

Alhonnoro, L & Norrgrann, A 2018 (in press), GLUTTONY No taste without the waste?: Gluttony in bakery product retailing. in H Syrjälä & H Leipämaa-Leskinen (eds), The seven deadly sins in consumption. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Syrjälä, H & Norrgrann, A (Eds) 2018 (in press) Multifaceted Autoethnography: Theoretical Advancements, Practical Considerations and Field Illustrations. Nova Science Publishers.

Syrjälä, H & Norrgrann, A (2018) “When your dog matches your decor” Object agency of living and non-living entities in home assemblage. Paper for the Consumer Culture Theory Conference 2018, Odense, Denmark.


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