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"We Know Who You Are and We Know Where You Live": The Instrumental Rationality of Geodemographic Systems

Jon Goss
Economic Geography
Vol. 71, No. 2 (Apr., 1995), pp. 171-198
Published by: Clark University
DOI: 10.2307/144357
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/144357
Page Count: 28
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"We Know Who You Are and We Know Where You Live": The Instrumental Rationality of Geodemographic Systems
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Abstract

This paper provides a critique of geodemographic systems, sophisticated marketing tools that combine massive electronic data bases on consumer characteristics and behavior, segmentation schemes, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Responsible for a "revolution" in marketing research, geodemographics represents a strategy to exercise rational knowledge-power over everday life. This critique examines the strategic implications of each component of geodemographics, including electronic surveillance and the erosion of privacy; GIS, spatial inference, and the representation of social space; and segmentation and construction of consumer identity. The paper concludes with remarks about the role of the consumer in geodemographics and the potential for tactical resistances to its strategy.

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