Special Issue: Marketing and Managing Racial Dynamics – in Theory and Practice
Journal of Marketing Management, Volume 36, 2020 – Issue 13-14

Repetition or reckoning: confronting racism and racial dynamics in 2020
Kevin D. Thomas, Judy Foster Davis, Jonathan A.J. Wilson & Francesca Sobande


(Re)viewing race, the marketplace, and public space through the lens of photography
layla-roxanne hill & Francesca Sobande
“This collaborative piece focuses on insights, personal experiences, and conceptual considerations about race, identity, and Black lives in different marketplace and public space settings in Britain (Glasgow, Scotland and Cardiff, Wales). We draw on the power of photography to illuminate issues regarding the relationship between race, antiblackness, intersecting oppressions, activism, marketing, media, and the aesthetics of public spaces. The discussion explores questions concerning who and what is (un)seen and (re)presented in images of marketplace and public space contexts. Utilising critical reflexivity, we observe and (re)view the myriad ways that the practice of photography – the framing of the lens as well as the (re)production and distribution of photos – captures, capitulates, and counters hegemonic understandings of (y)ourselves and other Black and racialised people in spaces of ‘consumption’ …” Read more>

Opinion Piece

Understanding branding is demanding…
Jonathan A. J. Wilson
“As a tribute to the African American, Latino, and Caribbean-origin global Hip-hop cultural phenomenon, the body of this paper is written as a Spoken-word RAP (Rhyme And Poetry) treatise on the current branding landscape. Grounded in rhetoric, analogies, and allegories, the aim is to present a didactic passage for discussion and reflection, that through phonaesthetics, rhythm, and rhyme is multi-layered and easier to recall. Support for this approach, the author argues, lies in the fact that branding, through image, identity, personality, and slogan creation, aims to produce attractive and memorable meaning and language-shaping cultural artefacts. Furthermore, a gestalt method to capturing the cultural zeitgeist is designed to present a variety of perspectives – in the interests of evoking thought and language in line with the speed at which brands are having to evolve their approaches, steeped in popular culture and relevance …” Read more>


Reproducing inequity: the role of race in the business school faculty search
Sonya A. Grier & Sonja Martin Poole
“Despite an increase in students of colour in higher education, a concomitant rise in faculty diversity is not evident. The present research focuses on faculty composition in business schools, which prepare students to lead across worldwide sectors. We examine the role of race in faculty hiring in order to identify barriers that hinder racial diversity within business schools. We use Critical Race Theory (CRT) as an analytic framework to examine the ways racial inequality is reproduced through specific practices in the business school search process. A qualitative methodology is used to investigate the experiences of underrepresented minority faculty who have served on business school search committees. Our participants’ narratives reveal consistent themes across diverse institutions and draw attention to aspects of the business school recruiting process that may be modified to enhance the recruitment of racially diverse faculty in business schools …” Read more>

Producing beauty ‘the hard way’: involuntary prosumption in a stigmatising context
Ana Raquel Coelho Rocha, Roberta Dias Campos, Letícia Moreira Casotti & Thaysa Costa do Nascimento
“Traditionally, the literature indicates that consumers have acted as prosumers voluntarily and for hedonic or leisure motivations. Only a few studies contend that consumers engage in prosumption activities forcibly because of social or material constraints. Through 15 in-depth interviews and complementary secondary data, the present research aims to outline an involuntary form of prosumption and investigate its formation. Findings show that consumers are socially and ideologically convoked to become prosumers, even at times against their will, learning ‘the hard way’ how to produce. Our theoretical contribution lies in delineating involuntary prosumption in a context marked by stigma, social invisibility, and market constraints …” Read more>

‘We are not the shoes of white supremacists’: a critical race perspective of consumer responses to brand attempts at countering racist associations
ML Wei & Benita Bunjun
“Recently, brands have come under fire for being associated with groups like neo-Nazis and white nationalists. In reaction, brands have tried to distance themselves through appeals to diversity. This research contributes to the literature on multiculturalism in marketing through a critical race perspective of how and why consumers participate in social networks in efforts to counter racism. Our findings identify three ways in which consumers respond, by punishing, advising, and defending, and highlight the relevance of circulating affect and exalted national subjects for understanding the practice and impact of multiculturalism in marketing on social media. This research contributes to our understanding of multiculturalism in marketing by extending ideas of impact beyond questions of personal cognitive change. By connecting issues of race to the larger project of nation-building, this research also complements psychological accounts of how consumers engage with brands in social networks as they work to take up diversity …” Read more>

Jennifer Takhar
“This prose poem aims to capture the social and commercial mood in the Midlands region of the UK during the turbulent 1980s. It relays the experiences of South Asian corner shop owners and how they managed their spiritual and professional lives in a political context where race-rioting and hostility towards immigrants was commonplace. As this creative piece foregrounds the liberatory potential of postcolonial poetic-based autoethnography, it advances Sherry and Schouten’s researcher-poet stance which emphasises how conventional prose cannot fully represent our perception and understanding of, in this case, complex race relations and vexed confrontations between British imperialist ideologies and the postcolonial subjects resisting colonial supremacy and social exclusion. This contribution advances ‘postcolonial poetic-based autoethnography’ as an alternative form of ethnographic research which gives legitimacy to Othered life histories and personal narratives as well as directing attention to historically constituted subjectivities, cultural meanings, ambivalent interactions, and social and racial dynamics …” Read more>

I need the hook-up: the impact of shared race and ethnic identity on the expectations of service quality
Nakeisha S. Ferguson, Janine L. Sanders Jones, Yuvay J. Meyers Ferguson & Amber M. Chenevert
“While extant research on Black consumers is plentiful, very little research is concerned with Black-owned businesses. Our study examines the impact of shared racial status and a consumer’s level of ethnic identification on service expectations when patronising Black-owned businesses. The results suggest that all consumers generally expect fair treatment, but Black consumers have an expectation of ‘preferential treatment’ when patronising Black-owned businesses. The strength of a Black consumer’s ethnic identity accentuated this and other aspects of service quality expectations. These findings could assist Black-owned businesses in the management of the anticipated and desired experience of their patrons. Implications and directions for further research are discussed …” Read more>

‘Worth more than just its weight in gold’: Nameplate jewellery and the practice of oppositional respectability
Marcel Rosa-Salas & Isabel Flower
“Nameplate jewellery is a style of customisable adornment in which names or words are crafted from gold or other metals and worn as necklaces, earrings, rings, belt buckles, or bracelets. For nearly a century, this style of jewellery has manifested a genre of fashion accessories that, through its locus on naming, declare the identity of its wearer in public space. Documenting the Nameplate is a digital storytelling and photography book project that highlights nameplate jewellery and its myriad cultural lineages and meanings. Through the analysis of personal testimonies and photography, this research seeks to understand how people incorporate fashion objects into their life narratives and family histories. Building on literature related to fashion, identity, and stigma, this article focuses on analysing nameplate wearers’ understanding of the micro-political potential of this self-styling choice. We argue that nameplate jewellery items are sentimental objects that consumers can use to enact oppositional respectability …” Read more>

Governing racial justice through standards and the birth of ‘White diversity’: a Foucauldian perspective
Milena Doytcheva
“Drawing on a longitudinal qualitative approach to corporate diversity policies in France, based on more than 80 in-depth interviews (N = 86), this paper examines the paradox conveyed within these policies by the rise of ‘raceless’ diversity concepts. This is what I term White diversity, exploring its construction and appropriation in the light of technologies of normalisation, referred to in English as standards. Building on a Foucauldian approach to normalisation, the paper engages with the case study of the French Diversity Label. It explores the ways in which market-based mechanisms of regulation have shaped the management of race difference. It demonstrates in particular how normalising antidiscrimination through voluntary social certification has contributed to upholding whiteness in organisations …” Read more>

Critical Race Theory (CRT) and colourism: a manifestation of whitewashing in marketing communications?
Talé A. Mitchell
“Utilising the lens of Critical Race Theory (CRT), this study explores connections between colourism and the alleged practice of whitewashing the skin tones of Black women in print media marketing communications. Previous inquiry has not empirically addressed the presentation of the skin tones of Black women in marketing materials. This study begins to fill that gap by examining how Black women’s skin tones are presented in marketing, and explores surrounding issues concerning racism, colourism, and perceptions of beauty. There is also a significant contribution to methodology by the operationalisation of skin tones. Future research and implications for marketing management are suggested …” Read more>

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