An essential element of marketing exchange is the involvement of the consumer. Yet this exchange can be described as one of captivity for the consumer dependent on the hegemony of the dominant marketing process (Gramsci, 1998). The rhetoric of relationship marketing is one of consumer centrality, yet power remains in the hands of the supplier (Szmigin, 2003), and cultural alienation ensures inclusion based on exchange. The marketing process also alienated the consumer from production; industrial capitalism has meant that people are estranged from the creation of goods. The end of the last century, however, saw an increasing interest and concern in the nature of production of consumer goods and in turn this has led to the evolution of a range of behaviours including downshifting (Schor, 1998) and boycotting (Friedman, 1999), the latter often related to the mode and nature of production. Typically, suchconsumer behaviour and especially boycotting has been seen as anti-marketing (Garrett, 1987; Voight, 2000) yet from a consumer research perspective it can be viewed as re-enabling the consumer. Rather than characterizing boycotters or others as being outside the mainstream and therefore ‘flawed consumers’ (Bauman, 1998), it is more appropriate to examine the conceptual development of the consumer in relation to both marketing and the exchange system where alternative consumer behaviours may be seen as part of an enabling process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)