The purpose of this paper is to explore the reasons underlying the recent interest on Islamic marketing, discusses past research on the topic and offers a future research perspective.
The paper is based on a critical review of the existing literature. It offers ethnoconsumerism as a way to develop a situated understanding of Muslim consumers and businesses.
Two distinct phases, omission and discovery, characterize the existing literature. Omission derives from the stereotyping of Muslims as traditional and uncivilized people and Islam as incompatible with capitalist consumer ideology. Discovery relates to the identification of Muslims as an untapped and viable consumer segment and the increasing visibility of Muslim entrepreneurs.
A deeper understanding of Muslim consumers and marketers requires doing away with essentialist approaches that reify difference. Instead of focusing on differences future research needs to pay attention to how such differences play out in the daily lives of consumers and examine the religious, political, cultural and economic resources, forces and tensions that consumers experience and negotiate as they (re)construct and communicate their identities as Muslims.
Managers should not assume Muslims to be a homogeneous and preexisting segment. They should focus on the daily practices for which the product may be relevant and generate solutions that will help Muslims live proper Islamic lives.
The paper draws attention to the potential problems in carrying out research on Islamic marketing and highlights the dangers of an essentialist perspective.
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