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My work focuses on the study of professions and organizations as both actors and sites of interconnected social, cultural, economic transformations with a particular interest in global/ transnational relations. I specifically examine how the processes of destination marketing constitute the commodification of national narratives in global markets of tourism, and how economic crisis and technological innovation change the practices and relations of production and employment in freelance journalism. I have conducted field research in India and the USA using qualitative methodologies of global ethnography, interviewing, and discourse analysis. 


My research examines the expanded relations of national imagination as commodification in global markets. I explored, in 16 months of field research, the professional tourism marketing activities of 45 different nation-states in India and the USA.  My book manuscript Imagined Commodities: The Global Marketing of Nations as Tourist Destinations analyzes national destination marketing as a process of the outsourcing of national imagination in global market relations. This ethnographic case study explores how the various official marketing organizations of the nation-state (such as the German National Tourist Office, South Africa Tourist Board, etc.) cooperate with the local travel media and industry to produce desirable national narratives to attract the potential tourist from India and the USA. This research contributes to the current studies of the global processes of commodification of the nation(-state) that show how the external expectations and perceptions of consumers frame national development policies. Yet, instead of understanding such perceptions as externalized market forces, I show the contingencies of these national efforts to manage such consumer demand globally in the interactions with various extra-national, cultural intermediaries, who all have their own economic interests.


My current research further engages with the transformation of freelance production in the professional field of (travel) journalism. My article Becoming Entrepreneurial: Crisis, Ethics and Marketization in the Field of Travel Journalism (Poetics, 2016), shows how travel journalists in the USA instrumentalize narratives of economic crisis to justify a shift in professional ethics and use the technological innovation of online publishing for new entrepreneurial practices bridging the fields of journalism and marketing. The article From Contract to Speculation: New Relations of Work and Production in Freelance Travel Journalism (Work, Employment and Society, 2019) theorizes freelance production in the absence of contracts as speculation.I show how such speculation constitutes new relations of control and obligation, externalization and precarity in the production processes of a transforming freelance economy.

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