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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2014

Sidney Plotkin

The purpose of this essay is to argue that, for Veblen, the contribution of advertising to mature business enterprise was crucial. Although Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this essay is to argue that, for Veblen, the contribution of advertising to mature business enterprise was crucial. Although Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class is widely credited with introducing the concept of “conspicuous consumption”, that book is silent on the contribution of the sales effort – or advertising – to such consumption. One must turn to Veblen’s later writings on the business system to find an analysis of advertising within oligopoly capitalism, what Veblen called the system of “absentee ownership”. At the beginning of the twentieth century business faced looming threats of technological progress and democratic discontent. The material prospect of accelerating productivity might soon “end the struggle or lessen the strain” of economic life; democracy might insist that the industrial system serve social needs in efficient ways. To ward off such challenges, business developed a two-prong approach to perpetuate scarcity: carefully managed control of output and an increasingly insistent, rationalized and expensive sales effort. The growth of advertising reflected a systematic expenditure of energy, talent and resources on a misdirection of human effort, one whose chief effect was to prolong “the strain” of everyday life in futile pursuit of waste. Whether such irrationality could be sustained indefinitely, or whether it might finally undermine the society that propels its pursuit, is an issue that Veblen raises, but to which he refuses to give any final answer.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyzes the full range of Veblen’s theoretical writings on consumption, technology and the sales effort.

Findings

The paper insists that Veblen is the first radical political economist to provide a systematic critical analysis of advertising as an essential element of mature capitalism.

Originality/value

The paper connects Veblen’s earliest thinking on “conspicuous consumption” to his mature analysis of advertising in the functioning of business enterprise. It will enrich understanding among academics and students, scholars of marketing and economic and social theorists, of Veblen’s critical analysis of the evolution of consumption, production and business enterprise.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 11 November 2014

Brian Jones

Abstract

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

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Article
Publication date: 18 May 2015

Daniel Ladik, Francois Carrillat and Mark Tadajewski

The purpose of this paper is to revisit Russell Belk’s (1988) landmark paper “Possessions and the extended self”. The authors provide a prehistory of related ideas and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to revisit Russell Belk’s (1988) landmark paper “Possessions and the extended self”. The authors provide a prehistory of related ideas and then examine the controversy it triggered regarding the different paradigms of research in marketing (Cohen, 1989) some 26 years ago.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper takes Belk seriously when he argues that his work is a synthesis and extension of prior studies leading to the novel production of the “extended self” concept. Via a close reading of the history of self-constitution, the authors highlight a number of thinkers who were grappling with similar issues now associated in our disciplinary consciousness to the idea of the “extended self”. To assess the contribution of Belk’s work, the authors engage in citation and interpretive analyses. The first analysis compared scholarly citations of Belk (1988) with the top ten most-cited Journal of Consumer Research (JCR) papers published in the same year. The second citation analysis compared Belk (1988) to the top ten most-cited JCR papers in the history of the journal. The authors follow this with an interpretive analysis of Belk’s contribution to consumer research via his 1988 paper.

Findings

Belk (1988) had the most citations (N = 934) of any paper published in JCR in 1988. When compared to all papers published in the history of JCR, Belk (1988) leads with the most overall citations. Moreover, Belk (1988) is the most prominent interpretive paper that appeared in JCR and one of the top three, regardless of paradigm. The analysis illustrates diversity in topic and methodology, thus indicating that Belk’s contribution impacted a wide variety of scholars. Interpretive analysis indicates the importance of Belk’s work for subsequently impactful consumer researchers.

Originality/value

The authors offer a prehistory of the “extended self” concept by highlighting literature that many consumer researchers will not have explored previously. With citations spanning over three decades, consumer behavior scholars recognize Belk (1988) as an important paper. Our analysis reveals that contrary to received wisdom, it is not only important for interpretive researchers or scholars within the consumer culture theory, but it is significant for the entire discipline, irrespective of paradigmatic orientation. The research presented here demonstrates that Belk’s (1988) paper is arguably one of the most influential papers ever published in JCR.

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Book part
Publication date: 15 June 2020

Diana Kelly

Abstract

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The Red Taylorist: The Life and Times of Walter Nicholas Polakov
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-985-4

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1976

The Howard Shuttering Contractors case throws considerable light on the importance which the tribunals attach to warnings before dismissing an employee. In this case the…

Abstract

The Howard Shuttering Contractors case throws considerable light on the importance which the tribunals attach to warnings before dismissing an employee. In this case the tribunal took great pains to interpret the intention of the parties to the different site agreements, and it came to the conclusion that the agreed procedure was not followed. One other matter, which must be particularly noted by employers, is that where a final warning is required, this final warning must be “a warning”, and not the actual dismissal. So that where, for example, three warnings are to be given, the third must be a “warning”. It is after the employee has misconducted himself thereafter that the employer may dismiss.

Details

Managerial Law, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0558

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Article
Publication date: 18 August 2014

Mark Tadajewski

This paper aims to provide a history of a number of intellectual debates in marketing theory and consumer research. It outlines the key arguments involved, highlights the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a history of a number of intellectual debates in marketing theory and consumer research. It outlines the key arguments involved, highlights the politics and acrimoniousness that often accompanied the competition for academic prestige or practitioner remuneration. It weaves the contents of the special issue into its narrative.

Design/methodology/approach

This article engages in a broad historical survey of the history of marketing thought, as it pertains to intellectual debate and disputation.

Findings

While scholars often articulate objectivity as an intellectual ideal, many of the debates that are explored reveal a degree of intellectual intolerance and this is refracted through the institutional system that structures marketing discourse.

Originality/value

This account provides an introduction to the intellectual debates of the last century, highlighting the ebb and flow of marketing thought. It calls attention to debates that are largely under explored and highlights the politics of knowledge production in marketing and consumer research.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

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