Films and documentaries can be highly useful pedagogic and research tools. They take complex topics that are theoretically and empirically rich and distill them into vehicles having the potential to deeply affect the way we look at marketing, consumer behavior, and the natural environment. They illuminate how our current consumption patterns are fundamentally problematic in ways that we rarely register because they are far removed from our sight. Using the work of Zygmunt Bauman on moral distance as well as two recent documentary films that bring the subject of waste to the fore, we explore these and related issues. Trashed (Brady 2012) highlights our planet’s finite resources and the hazards stemming from various waste disposal practices. Waste Land (Walker 2010) draws our attention to excess by profiling an example of how waste can be transformed into art. We make a case that these accounts can contribute to the “estrangement effect” articulated and praised by Herbert Marcuse and concomitantly provide us with examples of Transformative Consumer Research outside of the academy.
- social change
- critical marketing
- transformative consumer research