Marketing, Rhetoric and Control: The Magical Foundations of Marketing Theory, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Marketing, Rhetoric and Control

The Magical Foundations of Marketing Theory, 1st Edition

By Christopher Miles


216 pages

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pub: 2018-04-20
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Marketing, Rhetoric and Control investigates the tensions that surround the place of persuasion (and, more broadly, control) in marketing. Persuasion has variously been seen as an embarrassment to the discipline, a target for anti-marketing sentiment, the source of marketing’s value in the modern organisation, a mysterious black box inside the otherwise rational and logical endeavour of enterprise, and a rather insignificant part of the marketing programme. This book argues that this multifarious reputation for persuasion within marketing stems from the influence of two quite oppositional paradigms – the scientific and the magico-rhetorical – that ebb and flow across the discourses of its discipline and practice.

Constructing an interface between original, challenging close readings of texts from the beginnings of the Western rhetorical tradition and an examination of the ways in which marketing has set about describing itself, this text argues for a Sophistic interpretation of marketing. From this perspective, marketing is understood as providing intermediary services to facilitate the continuing exchange of attention and regard between firm/client and stakeholders. It seeks to manage and direct this exchange through an appreciation of the changing rational and irrational motivations of the firm and stakeholders, using these as resources for the construction of both planned and improvised persuasive interactions in agonistic (or competitive) environments.

This book is aimed primarily at researchers and academics working in the fields of marketing, marketing communications, and the related disciplines of marketing theory, critical marketing, and digital marketing. It will also be of value to marketing academics in business schools, including those working in the areas of media and communication studies who have an interest in commercial and corporate communication, brand use of interactive media, and communication theory.


"There is nothing "mere" about rhetoric. Long demonised and often misrepresented, rhetoric is an ancient artform whose time has come. As Miles shows in this exemplary text, rhetoric is central to the modern marketing condition. Marketers' seemingly magical ability to cast spells of delight, desire, distinction over delirious consumers is rooted in their rhetorical acumen. A sagacious review of the principal rhetorical traditions and a brilliantly-written reading of marketing principles and practices, Miles' book is a rhetorical triumph. In a word, it's magic!" -Stephen Brown, Ulster University, United Kingdom

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 A History of Rhetoric for Marketers

Chapter 2 Marketing Scholarship and Rhetoric

Chapter 3 Control and the Discourse of Marketing Science

Chapter 4 A Rhetorical Approach to Marketing as Exchange

Chapter 5 Marketing and Sophism – a comparison

Chapter 6 Magic, Sympathy, and Language

Chapter 7 The Magical Roots of Rhetoric

Chapter 8 Magical Persuasion and Marketing

Chapter 9 A Sophistic Marketing

About the Author

Chris Miles is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing & Communication at Bournemouth University, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Marketing

This series welcomes proposals for original research projects that are either single or multi-authored or an edited collection from both established and emerging scholars working on any aspect of marketing theory and practice and provides an outlet for studies dealing with elements of marketing theory, thought, pedagogy and practice. 

It aims to reflect the evolving role of marketing and bring together the most innovative work across all aspects of the marketing ‘mix’ – from product development, consumer behaviour, marketing analysis, branding, and customer relationships, to sustainability, ethics and the new opportunities and challenges presented by digital and online marketing.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Marketing / General
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Marketing / Research