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Researching on the edge: emancipatory praxis for social justice

Martina Hutton (University of Winchester Business School, University of Winchester, Winchester, UK)
Teresa Heath (NIPE, School of Economics and Management, University of Minho, Portugal)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 11 June 2020

Issue publication date: 11 June 2020




This paper aims to provoke a conversation in marketing scholarship about the overlooked political nature of doing research, particularly for those who research issues of social (in)justice. It suggests a paradigmatic shift in how researchers might view and operationalise social justice work in marketing. Emancipatory praxis framework offers scholars an alternative way to think about the methodology, design and politics of researching issues of social relevance.


This is a conceptual paper drawing on critical theory to argue for a new methodological shift towards emancipatory praxis.


As social justice research involves a dialectical relationship between crises and critique, the concept of emancipation acts as a methodological catalyst for furthering debate about social (in)justice in marketing. This paper identifies a set of methodological troubles and challenges that may disrupt the boundaries of knowledge-making. A set of methodological responses to these issues illustrating how emancipatory research facilitates social action is outlined.

Research limitations/implications

Emancipatory praxis offers marketing scholars an alternative methodological direction in the hope that more impactful and useful ways of knowing can emerge.

Practical implications

The paper is intended to change the ways that researchers work in practical and concrete terms on issues of social (in)justice.

Social implications

Although this paper is theoretical, it argues for an alternative methodological approach to research that reorients researchers towards a politicised praxis with emancipatory relevancy.


Emancipatory praxis offers a new openly politicised methodological alternative for addressing problems of social relevance in marketing. As a continuous political and emancipatory task for researchers, social justice research involves empirical encounters with politics, advocacy and democratic participation, where equality is the methodological starting point for research design and decisions as much as it is the end goal.



The authors wish to thank the Editor and reviewers for their helpful and insightful comments and suggestions in the development of this paper.


Hutton, M. and Heath, T. (2020), "Researching on the edge: emancipatory praxis for social justice", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 54 No. 11, pp. 2697-2721.



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