The Social and Material Dimensions of Markets

By Elizabeth Parsons

© 2015 – Routledge

168 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415843652
pub: 2016-03-30

About the Book

This book considers together the social and material dimensions of markets and marketing practices, drawing together insights from consumer research, marketing, social theory, and studies of material culture. While the role material objects play in meeting needs, wants, and desires – and their centrality as resources for identity construction – has been discussed by consumer researchers in depth, much less attention has been paid to matter and materiality.

The volume contributes to existing understandings of consumer value and offers a counterpoint to purely symbolic understandings of value. Individual chapters revise, extend, and critique debates surrounding processes of commodification and singularisation, aesthetics, symbolism, and language in the context of value creation. As such this book is of relevance to academics and students interested in consumption and consumer culture, marketing and material culture.


"This book deals with important new directions for marketing theory, combining its theoretical analysis which rigorous empirical research. I highly recommend it for all those interested in contemporary thought applied to marketing studies."Mark Tadajewski, Strathclyde University, UK

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. The Elusive Object 3. Useful Objects 4. Exchange Objects 5. Display Objects 6. Demanding Objects 7. Aesthetic Objects 8. Historical Objects

About the Author

Elizabeth Parsons is Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Keele University, UK. Her research explores the construction of value in second-hand markets. This research takes a material culture approach to the study of consumption emphasising the social and cultural construction of the meaning of objects. Her work has been published in the Journal of Marketing Management, Marketing Theory, and the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services. She has co-edited various books including Contemporary Issues in Marketing and Consumer Behaviour, Key Concepts in Critical Management Studies and Branded Lives: The Production and Consumption of Meaning at Work. She is also Assistant Editor on the journal Marketing Theory.

About the Series

Routledge Interpretive Marketing Research

Recent years have witnessed an ‘interpretive turn’ in marketing and consumer research. Methodologies from the humanities are taking their place alongside those drawn from the traditional social sciences. Qualitative and literary modes of marketing discourse are growing in popularity. Art and aesthetics are increasingly firing the marketing imagination. This series brings together the most innovative work in the burgeoning interpretive marketing research tradition. It ranges across the methodological spectrum from grounded theory to personal introspection, covering all aspects of the postmodern marketing ‘mix’, from advertising to product development, and embracing marketing’s principal sub-disciplines.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Consumer Behavior
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Marketing / Research