Social studies of marketing

The social study of marketing is an interdisciplinary area of ​​social science. It combines perspectives from anthropology , economic sociology , science and technology studies , and cultural studies to study consumption . Work in the area emphasizes the social and cultural dimensions of marketing practices and focuses on technical and historical issues. It’s emergence follows similar developments in social studies of finance . But it is also seen as a response to mainstream marketing management which focuses on marketing as a series of tools and techniques devoid from social interactions (see Svennson [1])).

The term “social studies of marketing” was first used by the sociologist Fabian Muniesa in his book Provoked Economy [2] . He writes:

‘The emerging field of the social studies of marketing … can be defined as having a special interest in marketing, market research, branding and advertising shape (purposeful, most of the time) . … Of course, this does not mean that consumers do not exist and that marketing is a fiction ‘(2014: 32).

Theoretically, the main discussions in the area center on questions of agency and representation. Dealing with issues of agency, and Informed by [ actor network theory ], Many discussions explores the ways That Seemingly trivial material objects Such as shopping bags [3] , carts and trolleys [4] and retail displays Fundamentally shape how people consume. Accepting that these objects can influence the role of consumers in the marketplace. Dealing with representation, work in the area argues that the main task of marketing is to describe markets. The notion of performativityhas emerged as a key concept here. It can be said that it can also be said to produce them [5] . This article discusses the subject in particular of real critical realism and social constructonism . The latter suggests that all reality – including consumer behavior – is made up or constructed through representations. They form, say that there is an underlying real world, even if marketers base their decisions only on limited representation of that real world.

Authors who have contributed to this area are predominantly based in Europe and North America. They include sociologists such as Michel Callon [ Callon ] and business researchers such as Araujo ; Zwick ; Pollock ; Mason ; and Schwartzkopf .


  1. Jump up^ Svennson, 2007 Producing marketing: towards a social-phenomenology of marketing work, Marketing Theory
  2. Jump up^ Muniesa 2014 The Provoked Economy
  3. Jump up^ Cochoy 2007 A Sociology of Market-Things, The Sociological Review
  4. Jump up^ Cochoy 2008 Calculation, Qualculation, Calqulation, Marketing Theory
  5. Jump up^ Cochoy 1998 Another discipline for the market economy: marketing as a performative knowledge and know-how for capitalism, The Sociological Review