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Third‐space scholars: bridging the marketing academy and emerging markets

Benét DeBerry‐Spence (University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 1 August 2008




This paper seeks to begin a meaningful dialogue on the concept of third space, or “in‐between space”, within the marketing discipline. In the context of scholarly research, third space exists between the academy and places of research, and applies to research agendas involving businesses and consumers in emerging and/or subsistence markets, where study findings often carry significant implications for both theory development and social action. The paper therefore aims to facilitate discussion of defining third space in the context of marketing and to explore its implications for scholars and the academy as a whole.


By reviewing literature from diverse disciplines, the paper explores how occupying a third space may not always be momentary or short‐lived, as it is most often characterized. Instead, marketing scholars with enduring obligations both to the social action of their work in emerging markets and to the theoretical contributions of their work may enact a third space in ways that make it less transitory.


The paper introduces three areas (i.e. researcher identity, researcher context, research methods) and the corresponding themes of rediscovering the researcher, living in the global world, and (re)searching epistemologies, ontologies, and methodologies to begin an examination of third‐space marketing scholars.


The issues raised in the paper both respond and contribute to calls for a broader study of culture and business in transformative ways. Moreover, they provide a good starting‐point for further discussion and research on third space by highlighting that the very things one studies indeed affect current ways of theorizing and by reinforcing the need to understand the role of scholars in giving voice to the people and businesses they research.



DeBerry‐Spence, B. (2008), "Third‐space scholars: bridging the marketing academy and emerging markets", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 23 No. 6, pp. 368-373.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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