The purpose of this paper is to argue that the function of history in critical marketing studies centres on the issue of contextualisation. It aims to put forward the idea that historically informed critical marketing studies highlight that key institutions, actors and scholarly writings have all helped to constitute, perform and destabilise marketing theory, thought and practice in ways that reflect multiple constellations of interests.
By way of an engagement with various strands of the literature, it is suggested that the history of marketing thought and marketing history are riven with power relations. They include economically derived power relations and culturally significant changes in the social environment. However, while important, they are only part of a more pluralistic tapestry of factors that come from sometimes completely unrelated areas that helped constitute the conditions which fostered a given area of inquiry, debate and so on, in marketing and consumer research.
Weaved into accounts such as those articulated within critical marketing studies are attempts to rethink aspects of theory, concept formation, thought, practice and institutions that have assumed a taken‐for‐granted status.
This account is based on a detailed reading of interdisciplinary debates read into the history of marketing thought and marketing history.
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