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Engineered to SellEuropean Émigrés and the Making of Consumer Capitalism$
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Jan L. Logemann

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226660011

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226660295.001.0001

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The Art of Asking Why: The “Vienna School” of Market Research and Transfers in Consumer Psychology

The Art of Asking Why: The “Vienna School” of Market Research and Transfers in Consumer Psychology

Chapter:
(p.44) Two The Art of Asking Why: The “Vienna School” of Market Research and Transfers in Consumer Psychology
Source:
Engineered to Sell
Author(s):

Jan L. Logemann

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226660295.003.0004

The professionalization of marketing research and efforts in “consumer engineering” drew on new insights in fields from social psychology to communication studies, which thrived at mid-century because of transatlantic knowledge-circulation. This chapter follows the exemplary transatlantic careers of members of the “Vienna school of market research.” The group emerged from the Wirtschaftspsychologische Forschungsstelle, a social research institute associated with the University of Vienna during the early 1930s. Next to Paul Lazarsfeld, the group most prominently included the sociologist Hans Zeisel as well as the motivation research specialists Herta Herzog and Ernest Dichter. Their careers suggest a more transnational understanding of midcentury American consumer capitalism with European – in this case particularly Viennese – influences shaping marketing practices, which consumer historians still often regard as a quintessentially “American” phenomenon of psychological consumer manipulation. Transfers took place on several levels and this and subsequent chapters will analyze the role of individual émigré scholars, of the professional networks they formed, as well as the research concepts and methodologies they developed between Europe and the United States.

Keywords:   Vienna School of Market Research, Wirtschaftspsychologische Forschungsstelle, History of Consumer Psychology, Paul Lazarsfeld, Bureau of Applied Social Research

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