Ph.D., University of Wisconsin (Journalism and Mass Communication, 2009)
M.A., New York University (Journalism, 1998)
B.A., McGill University, (Geography and Latin American-Caribbean Studies, 1997).
Prof. Atkinson’s primary area of research focuses on the intersection of politics and consumer behavior, particularly among young people. For example, she explores whether and to what degree socially conscious consumption, such as buying fair-trade coffee or hybrid cars, either helps or hinders conventional civic and political engagement, such as voting and volunteering. A second stream of research explores the roles of consumption and media use in fostering identity. Her recent work in this vein has studied brand communities in online social networking sites and how individuals think of themselves and their profiles as online brands.
She has received research funding from the Mass Communication & Society division of AEJMC, the Association for Consumer Research and the University of Michigan New Media &