Amazon is ubiquitous in our daily lives—we stream movies and television on Amazon Prime Video, converse with Alexa, receive messages on our smartphone about the progress of our latest orders. In Buy Now, Emily West examines Amazon’s consumer-facing services to investigate how Amazon as a brand grew so quickly and inserted itself into so many aspects of our lives even as it faded into the background, becoming a sort of infrastructure that can be taken for granted. Amazon promotes the comfort and care of its customers (but not its workers) to become the ultimate service brand in the digital economy. West’s innovative account, the first to examine Amazon from a critical media studies perspective, offers a cautionary cultural study of bigness in today’s economy.
Emily West is an Associate Professor at the Department of Communication at the Universty of Massachusetts Amherst. She will be in conversation with members of the “Automating the Logistical City” project. The event will take place at 5pm on Zoom.