Subsistence Marketplaces


The Second Subsistence Marketplaces Conference, Chicago, 13-15 Jun 2008; Deadline 15 Jan

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Call For Papers

The Second Subsistence Marketplaces Conference:
Sustainable Consumption and Commerce For a Better World

June 13-15, 2008, University of Illinois, Chicago

Conference Chairs

Madhu Viswanathan
University of Illinois

José Antonio Rosa
University of Wyoming

Joseph Cherian
University of Illinois

Description and Call for Papers

In August, 2006, over eighty academicians, business practitioners, and social enterprise leaders came together for the first subsistence marketplace conference at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Unique to this enclave was a bottom up approach to subsistence marketplaces – focusing on better understanding and responding to the people – consumers and entrepreneurs – who live at or near subsistence, and who comprise a majority of the world’s population. This bottom-up focus is distinct from the macro-level economic approaches, and mid-level business strategy approaches, such as the base of the pyramid (BOP), that has characterized research on this topic. Response to the experience and output from the first conference was unambiguously positive, energizing projects and collaborative arrangements that cut across traditional boundaries, and a collection of readings published as a volume in the Advances in International Management series by Elsevier in 2007.

The second subsistence marketplaces conference aims to builds on the momentum built by the first conference, and to give visibility and critical assessment to new developments in our study and response to subsistence marketplaces over the last two years. The fundamental motivation for this conference is the same as the first – to apply contemporary and rigorous scholarship from academic, business, and social enterprise sources to the task of meeting the needs of subsistence consumers and small merchants in ways that are economically, socially, and ecologically sustainable. The second conference will retain the distinctive bottom-up approach to understanding subsistence marketplaces based on buyer, seller, and other market constituent behaviors. Sessions will draw on academic research, business practice, social entrepreneurship, and management education, in the realm of subsistence marketplaces. The conference will be of interest to a variety of audiences including academicians, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, business practitioners, and NGOs across their broad spectrum of activity. It will again combine keynote addresses, plenary panels, presentations from invited guests, and presentations of papers submitted in response to this call, with the added benefit of an increasingly vibrant and synergistic array of outputs because of the growing maturity of these areas of inquiry.

Some topic areas, and ancillary sub-areas for submissions are suggested for illustrative purposes.

  • Buyers and Sellers in Subsistence Marketplaces
    • Consumer and Buyer/Seller Decision Processes
    • Entrepreneurship in Subsistence Marketplaces
    • Specific Consequences of Literacy and Poverty for Buyer and Seller Behavior
    • Research Methods for Subsistence Marketplaces
  • Business Practices in Subsistence Marketplaces and the Need for Sustainability
    • Roles of Subsistence Buyer/Sellers in Business Processes and Value Creation
    • Technology Identification, Product Design, Development, and Testing
    • Distribution Systems and their Influence on Consumer Welfare
    • Promotion of Consumption and Its Implications
    • Pricing for Value and Sustainability
  • Management Education on Subsistence Marketplaces
    • Innovations in the Business Curriculum to Incorporate Subsistence Contexts
  • Social Enterprises in Subsistence Marketplaces

All authors are asked to submit a two-page abstract, from which acceptance decisions will be made and preliminary session planning will be carried out. It is suggested that the number of references be limited and included at the end of the text.

Submission Deadline for Two-Page Extended Abstracts: January 15, 2008

Notification: February 1, 2008

Submission Requirements:

Page 1: Title, author, and full contact information (including e-mail).
Pages 2-3: Double-spaced abstract of the paper
To be submitted as Word attachments via e-mail to all three conference chairs (,, and

Submissions for Publication as Book Chapters

Presentations accompanied by full papers will be considered for publication in a book emerging from the second conference. As mentioned earlier, a book from the first subsistence marketplaces conference was published in the Advances in International Management series from Elsevier in 2007. [For a description of that first volume please visit the Elsevier website at] Authors interested in having their papers published must submit a full draft prior to the conference and notify the chairs of their intent to do so when submitting their abstracts. The revised manuscripts submitted after the conference will be peer-reviewed for content and stylistic adequacy and may require revision prior to final acceptance.

Submission Deadline for Full Drafts: June 1, 2008


August 1, 2008 – Deadline for revised papers after incorporation of comments from conference participants and conference chairs
September 15, 2008 – Feedback to authors after peer review
November 1, 2008 – Deadline for revised submission
December 31, 2008 – Final deadline for subsequent revisions

Submission Requirements:

Page 1: Title, author, and full contact information (including e-mail).
Pages 2-35: Double-spaced paper not to exceed 35 pages including references, appendices, and exhibits.

To be submitted as Word attachments via e-mail to all three conference chairs (,, and