Scent Culture Monitor

Scent Culture is a rapidly expanding aspect of contemporary culture, business and society as well as an exciting intellectual field: The air condition is increasingly made explicit. Yet, numerous oderiferous phenomena and their economic, cultural and social relevance have hardly been explored and remain undertheorized.

Building the field

The Scent Culture Monitor wants to capture this multiplicity of developments. Posts inform about new products, services or initiatives. Thus, the posts from the old Scent Culture News site have also recently been imported to this section of our presence. Other posts share our observations and commentaries,  reflect on broader contexts or introduce an anecdotal snapshot.

All in all, the Scent Culture Monitor follows an exploratory approach of highlighting and connecting fragmented themes, ideas, references, and projects that relate to the sense of smell in culture, business and society. Some of these have been out there for a long time, some have just appeared somewhere, and others may just be emerging on the fringes. Scent Culture News brings attention to and legitimizes what might be regarded as negligible, irrelevant, or marginal.

Shaping the field

We want to be broad enough to be relatable to a range of stakeholders, but specific enough to be meaningful. Each post should contribute to the understanding of “scent culture”. Time and again we will make a pause and reflect on recurring themes, issues and concepts: What can we learn about our economy, culture and society? Are there business opportunities? How is our understanding of scent culture nuanced? We might then readjust the focus. One can call this an inductive approach. This is the reason why we do not start with a definition upfront.

Inspiring the field

We hope to inspire new initiatives that increase the exchange between domains, theory & practice. We are happy to share our experience, insights and ideas and welcome like-minded initiatives. As such, we hope that the blog can enable the development of collaborations that otherwise may hardly happen.

Inviting criticism & discussion

Our selection is open to criticism and we are grateful for all kinds of feedback. We cordially invite submissions and suggestions. Please get in touch with us!

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Some recents posts:


Ferdinand & current research (3) (8/18/2018) - The Story of Ferdinand (1936) is a much acclaimed classic children book written by American author Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. This post looks at how the story corresponds with the current state of research. It continues in a series of Scent Culture Comment & Review.
(8/15/2018) - “We thought it necessary to begin with the sense of smell, because of all the senses it is the one which appears to contribute least to the knowledge of the human mind.” – Etienne Bonnot de Condillac (1714-1780)
Ferdinand & the King of Happiness (2) (8/11/2018) - The Story of Ferdinand  also has a remarkable cinematic history: This post revisits the short animated film adapted by Walt Disney 1938 and reveals its craftmanship in showing olfactory practices.
Ferdinand & the pleasures of olfactory perception (1) (8/7/2018) - The Story of Ferdinand (1936) is a much acclaimed classic children book written by American author Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. Since its first publication the story has been translated into more than sixty languages. This post reveals the fragrant (and so far widely ignored) message of the plot. It is the first post in a new...
More than functional bottles: Scent & Symbolism (7/28/2018) - A recent exhibition on perfumed objects and images provides the context for a few remarks on the role of flacons. Even after the finassage the catalogue deserves more attention.
Seasonal Greetings! (7/20/2018) - “B. O.” is the indispensable Other of the perfume and fragrance industry, despised and feared at the same time; to be eradicated, yet its raison d’etre. – Hans Rindisbacher
Risky media buzz about scent (7/11/2018) - Marketing experts tell us that negative headlines get much more attention:
“The Art of Scent” 3.0 at Dubai (7/9/2018) - “The Art of Scent” curated by Chandler Burr at the Museum of Art & Design in New York in 2012 has been a major milestone in the recent history of scent culture. In an interview during the exhibition with Artforum Chandler Burr referred even to  perfume (!) “as an artistic medium”. The show presented twelve...
Smelling digital culture (6/27/2018) - Digital culture seems to epitomize a scentfree world. Information technologies are clean. The sense of smell seems to be the outsider of a digital world. Isn’t this part of the story we tell about progress and a postindustrial society?
Body odor impacting on other’s work performance (6/25/2018) - Human body odors can transfer anxiety-related signals. This is a well documented fact. Yet, it is an open question how these signals impact in real-life situations.