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Thinking market infrastructure: Barcode scanning in the US grocery retail sector, 1967–2010

Chapter in book
Authors Hans Kjellberg
Johan Hagberg
Franck Cochoy
Published in Thinking infrastructures, editors, Martin Kornberger, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Julia Elyachar, Andrea Mennicken, Peter Miller, Joanne Randa Nucho and Neil Pollock
Pages 207-232
ISBN 978-1-78769-558-0
ISSN 0733558X
Publisher Emerald Publishing
Publication year 2019
Published at Centre for Retailing
Department of Business Administration, Marketing Group
Pages 207-232
Language en
Keywords Barcodes, Digitalization, Grocery retailing, Market agencements, Market devices, Market infrastructure
Subject categories Business Administration


This chapter explores the concept of market infrastructure, which is tentatively defined as a materially heterogeneous arrangement that silently supports and structures the consummation of market exchanges. Specifically, the authors investigate the enactment of market infrastructure in the US grocery retail sector by exploring how barcodes and related devices contributed to modify its market infrastructure during the period 1967–2010. Combining this empirical case with insights from previous research, the authors propose that market infrastructures are relational, available for use, modular, actively maintained, interdependent, commercial, emergent and political. The authors argue that this conception of market infrastructure provides a powerful tool for unveiling the complex agencements and engineering efforts that underpin seemingly superficial, individual and isolated market exchanges.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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