Special Section: Consumption, Marketing and Taboo
Journal of Marketing Management, Volume 34, 2018 – Issue 13-14


Consumption, marketing and taboo
Gretchen Larsen & Maurice Patterson


A commentary on the treatment of taboo in consumption and marketing
Gretchen Larsen, Maurice Patterson, Ouidade Sabri & Luciana Walther


From filthy to healthy and beyond: finding the boundaries of taboo destruction in sex toy buying
Samuel Piha, Leila Hurmerinta, Birgitta Sandberg & Elina Järvinen
“The liberalisation of Western society has led to the destruction of certain taboos, but on the individual level, taboo destruction may be curtailed by opposing conventions. This study investigates the boundaries of taboo destruction in relation to buying products that were once considered as taboo but are increasingly subject to liberalisation, namely, sex toys. Adopting an exploratory mixed-method approach, which combines a consumer survey with expert interviews, this study establishes a framework suggesting that self-protection and status maintenance are the core forces behind individual-level taboo construction. Additionally, consumers may voluntarily construct taboos regarding sex toys as the controlled violation of a taboo is associated with sexual excitement. Implications about how the results diverge from societal taboo destruction, on which sex toy retailing is currently built, are discussed. Read More >

Physically freeing: breaking taboos through online displays of the sexual self
Ekant Veer & Maja Golf-Papez
“This research specifically looks at the societal taboo of presenting an overtly sexualised self in a public forum. Specifically, we investigate the way in which technology is being used to mediate sexual experiences between individuals and larger online communities. The research takes an exploratory look at why some users engage in Technology-Mediated Sexual Encounters (TMSEs) and the impact that these online sexual encounters can have on one’s sense of self, perceptions of freedom and expression. Beyond fantasy seeking, novel experiences, and instancy of TMSEs, the importance of perceptions of power and dominance during a TMSE are discussed, as well as the emancipatory feelings associated with being free to break taboo. The impact of engaging in TMSEs and their use in understanding sexuality and expectations of physical sexual experiences is also discussed. The implications from this research include a better understanding of how technology is being used to express one’s self online in taboo contexts.” Read More > / Read the Blog >

The superstitious journey of Thai lottery gamblers
Theeranuch Pusaksrikit, Siwarit Pongsakornrungsilp, Sydney Chinchanachokchai & Elizabeth Crosby
“Superstitious belief has been explained as a driving force in initiating and maintaining gambling behaviour. However, most studies on this subject only examine the variations of superstitious beliefs in a Western gambling context, with limited understanding of the impact superstition has on gambling initiation. By focusing on lottery gambling, this exploratory research attempts to examine what impact superstitious belief has on the lottery gambling behavioural process among Thai consumers. This research utilised semi-structured depth interviews to collect data and thematic coding to analyse the narrative transcripts. The findings contribute to the body of literature on lottery gambling by providing the conceptual framework depicting that superstitious beliefs play a major role in every stage of the lottery gambling process (from the pre-purchase to post-purchase stages) and these beliefs can increase the likelihood of taking up gambling.” Read More >

Taboo on TV: gender, religion, and sexual taboos in transnationally marketed Turkish soap operas
Cagri Yalkin & Ekant Veer
“This study illuminates the ways in which men and women consume soap operas as a means of reflecting on and discussing sociocultural taboos. Through interpretive research we examine the ways in which religion, sexuality and gender relations are depicted in popular Turkish soap operas and how these depictions are consumed in the Balkans and the Middle East. This study challenges the assumption that consumption of taboo discourses leads to active identity modification or public defiance. Instead, in-depth interviews and online ethnography reveal that consumption of soap operas that challenge local religious and gender norms provide a liminal space for discussing taboo topics. Firstly, the findings indicate that talking about taboo topics seen in soap operas enables consumers to speak about what they expect gender and religious norms to be. Secondly, consumers get their mediated understandings of what religion is through soap operas. Thus, rather than simply offering escape, soap opera consumption facilitates the discussion of taboo topics.” Read More >

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