Romancing the Home: Emotions and the Interactional Creation of Demand in the Housing Market

Sunday, June 26, 2016: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM
228 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
Max Besbris, New York University, New York, NY
While recent research has stressed the importance of emotions in economic transactions, scholars have generally overlooked the role of market intermediaries in creating and sustaining emotional connections between buyers and particular products. Previous research posits that consumers’ goals change as their feelings change, but the question of how these feelings change remains unanswered. Drawing on 27 months of ethnographic fieldwork and analyzing interactions between real estate agents and homebuyers, this article elaborates three processes by which market intermediaries evoke emotions from buyers: individualized matching, sequencing, and highlighting market scarcity. These observations reveal how individual preference and consumption decisions are subject to situational structuring by market intermediaries. Furthermore, this article argues that sales transactions present scholars with untapped opportunities to understand how emotions impact economic transactions, as well as the crucial role that intermediaries play in creating and sustaining these emotions.