Tom Maschio has had two anthropological lives. He started off as an academic anthropologist, doing his research on the religious and ceremonial life of an ethnic group in Papua New Guinea. His second anthropological life has been spent studying the rituals, routines and beliefs that make up Western consumer culture. The connection between his two lives is seen in his approach to branding, consumer culture research and ethnographic interviewing. He is always searching anthropological theory and the ethnographic record for creative analogies and metaphors to apply to his case studies of consumer behavior. His goal in doing this is to supply fresh business perspectives to his clients. The range of product and service categories in which he has worked run the gamut: culture and technology, pet food and the relationship between owners and pets ; the American philosophy of money and credit card use; the meaning and symbolism of home improvement; developing American notions of healthy eating and Super Foods; cultures of dieting; cultural meanings associated with home entertainment systems; the meanings associated with home washing appliances; a host of pharma projects and many projects about shopping and the design of retail spaces.
Tom’s academic career includes positions as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology at New York University, Instructor at The American Museum of Natural History, Fulbright Scholar to Papua New Guinea and Postdoctoral Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is the author of numerous academic and business articles and of the book To Remember the Faces of the Dead, published by the University of Wisconsin Press. He received his BA from Columbia College, his MA from New York University and his PhD from McMaster University.