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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Volume 6, Issue 3
Some time ago, Shelby Hunt submitted his article “Understanding marketing’s philosophy debates: a retrospective on seven key publication events” that appears in this issue of Journal of Historical Research in Marketing (JHRM). Associate Editor, Mark Tadajewski, and I were excited when we received Shelby’s submission for many reasons, including the potential we saw for a special issue on the history of the philosophy debates in marketing using Shelby’s article as the lightning rod. While those debates have spanned the entire history of marketing as an academic discipline, it seemed that the time was ripe for retrospectives on what was perhaps the most heated, and possibly most productive, period during the 1980s. We discussed who we would like to invite as contributors, and then Mark took the lead in approaching this select group of scholars: Donncha Kavanagh, Russell Belk, John Sherry, Fuat Firat and, of course, Shelby Hunt – all of whom accepted the challenge with enthusiasm.
As the articles were submitted, Mark began working on an editorial for this issue, but as I read each iteration of his editorial, I realized that it was much more – an historical umbrella for the collection of articles and, at the same time, an insightful synthesis of the entire issue. Mark’s piece serves as the introduction to this issue and, if I may say, readers should read the entire issue beginning with Mark’s which weaves all of the other articles together and, at the same time, draws out the politics of each twist in the discourse on philosophy in marketing. I would not say more here except to thank all of those who contributed to this outstanding retrospective on the philosophy debates in marketing.
Explorations and insights
For some time now, the entire editorial staff of JHRM has wanted to publish historical review essays of important marketing books. This issue features three such reviews of forgotten classics in marketing. Ron Savitt revisits E.T. Grether’s (1966) Marketing and Public Policy which offered a framework for examining and evaluating marketing practices and public policy and is as relevant today as it was in 1966. Grether’s work is also featured in Stan Shapiro’s historical review of Marketing in the American Economy published in 1952 by Grether with co-authors Roland Vaile and Reavis Cox. Shapiro concludes that the continuing legacy of “ Vaile-Grether-Cox (VGC)”, as he refers to it, is its insightful discussion of the relative roles of the market and the state in the American economy. Finally, Eric Shaw contributes a retrospective on Ralph Breyer’s (1934) The Marketing Institution. Shaw is a vocal advocate of the development of a general theory of marketing, and in Breyer’s book, he sees an insightful analysis of the marketing system and the rudiments of a general theory of marketing, giving Breyer’s book much to recommend to students of marketing thought and theory.
We hope that readers enjoy these insightful reflections on three forgotten classics in marketing. Please let us know if you believe that we should publish more of the same.
D.G. Brian Jones