Special Issue: Violence, Markets and Marketing
Journal of Marketing Management, Volume 34, 2018 – Issue 11-12


Violence, markets and marketing
Rohit Varman


No longer violent enough?: Creative destruction, innovation and the ossification of neoliberal capitalism
Detlev Zwick
“My goal is to suggest that it is useful to distinguish analytically between capital’s primal, often direct violence against bodies and a systemic form of violence that is at the same time reproductive of the capitalist system and directed against its own creations. I suggest that this analytical separation allows us to see that on the one hand capitalist violence is intensifying and with it processes of exploitation, class bifurcation, downward mobility and environmental, political and social degradation. On the other hand, however, capitalism appears to be ossifying as it loses its ability to self-reproduce. The violent act of (periodically) destroying its own creation to make room for new production and formation is becoming stifled and nothing appears capable of blowing up the dead weight of capital that is suffocating living labour. Drawing on the work of David Graeber and Mariana Mazzucato I propose that, paradoxically, it is the logic of the market that causes the stifling of real innovation and thus capitalism’s ability to reproduce. It is in this sense that I claim that capitalism is no longer violent enough.” Read More >

The precarity of respectable consumption: normalising sexual violence against women
Rohit Varman, Paromita Goswami & Devi Vijay
“Drawing upon feminist scholarship, this study offers insights into how respectable consumption exacerbates precarity and contributes to normalisation of sexual violence in Delhi, India. It helps to uncover androcentricity of respect that has been under-examined in marketing theory. This research identifies androcentric discourse of izzat or respect as a key discursive apparatus that enframes sexual violence against women. In this discourse, women are carriers of family traditions and respect or honour. Moreover, norms of consumption get situated within discourse of izzat and alterity is created from women who do not follow these norms. Such women, labelled as unrespectable, live under conditions of heightened precarity and are blamed for the sexual violence they face. Therefore, this work offers insights into normalisation of sexual violence that have not been understood in marketing theory.” Read More >

Worlds of demonetisation and delegitimising the grief of the marginal
Srinath Jagannathan, Premalatha Packirisamy & Jerome Joseph
“In late 2016, the Indian state announced a policy of demonetisation whereby high denomination currency was legally rendered as invalid. The official aim of the policy was to confront the problems of black money and corruption that India faces. However, currency shortage resulting from the withdrawal of nearly 85% cash adversely affected the large informal economy in India. We explore how demonetisation affected marginal actors in one such informal economy space, the scrap market in some cities in south India. By accessing the narratives of these marginal subjects, we hope to show how the consumption of the governmental-corporate discourse of utopia is simultaneously implicated in the injustices and violence being experienced by several people. We contribute to ongoing theoretical conversations about the linkages between marketing and hegemonic practices of development by contending that hegemonic imaginations of development are linked to delegitimising the grief of marginal subjects. Such delegitimisation is linked to the desires of consumer-citizens in making them feel aligned with utopian fantasies and the reproduction of identity-based inequalities against marginal subjects.” Read More >

Peer socialisation: brand-related bullying in the school classroom
William P. Williams & Jon Littlefield
“This paper details a study of brand-related bullying in a school setting, among children approximately 11–18 years of age during their schooling experience. Defined as ‘repeated oppression, psychological or physical, of a less powerful person by a more powerful one’, authors have found self-reported rates of bullying above 25%. Our goal was to assess the role of brands and branded products in violent peer socialisation through bullying. Depth interviews lasting between 45 and 90 minutes that captured the retrospective reflection of forty-one 18–20-year-old college students were conducted and data were analysed hermeneutically with iterative comparison to discover emerging themes. Our findings suggest branded products were used to maintain existing social hierarchical structures and exclude non-conforming students through both covert and overt violence. We describe the influence strategies used and address strategies for dealing with the ‘unusual’, including the adoption of an alternative aesthetic for clothing selection.” Read More >


Violence in/by the market
A. Fuat Fırat
“In this paper, I discuss a definition of violence to unearth the generally unrecognised violence perpetrated by the logic of the market as is was constructed through a history of modern thought and capitalist organisation of life as the central system of modernity. Enslavement of humanity to the purpose of capitalist economy and its key institution, the market, which is to optimise economic value, is arguably the consequence.” Read More >

Markets and violence
Subhabrata Bobby Banerjee
“In this commentary, I address different forms of corporate violence, in particular how some contemporary corporate practices result in violence. Violence is carried out often without impunity by a market-state nexus that enables accumulation by dispossession. Structural violence concentrates power on certain groups while creating a class of disposable labour. Epistemic violence involves using language and law to disempower specific groups of people. The state often uses instrumental violence to quell resistance. I discuss how violence operates in the political economy by discussing conflicts in the extractive industries.” Read More >

Media, markets and violence
Nikhilesh Dholakia & Ian Reyes
“Media have multipronged linkages to violence, and these have been studied in considerable detail in the fields of communication and media studies. With commercialisation of media and the rapid decline of paying subscribers, for their survival in a capitalist economy, media have to rely increasingly on advertising revenues, and on other ways of linking to markets. Portrayals of violence have become reliable vehicles for ensuring media profitability – in terms of generating advertising revenue – as well as for generating revenue streams via related market-developing and market-maintaining ways. With the advent of new media – social media, virtual reality media and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-robotics-sentient media – the nexus of media, markets and violence is beginning to transform. This paper offers concepts and frames to start exploring the new patterns of linkages across media, markets and violence.” Read More >

Marketing, violence and social cohesion: first steps to a conceptual approach to the understanding of the normalising role of marketing
Dominique Bouchet
“This paper answers a call for contributions ‘dedicated to revealing how markets and marketing make violence culturally acceptable and socially normalised’. Such an investigation has to involve some in-depth conceptualisation with respect to the meanings of both marketing and violence. The market is an institution related to other institutions which altogether are – as in all societies – trying to cope with violence. Today our societies are based on both markets and democracy, but those institutions tend to be mutually contradictory. When marketing tends to replace politics and to almost religiously convert citizens into consumers it is social cohesion that is at stake. This paper aims at contributing to a deeper understanding of social/historical trends. As it highlights the importance of ideas (representations and motivations) and their links with changing institutions, it might help researchers and marketers to a broader understanding of their role and towards a more conscious social behaviour.” Read More >

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