TOC: Subsistence Marketplaces


Subsistence Marketplaces, book by Viswanathan, Madhu

Section I: A Bottom-up Approach to Understanding Subsistence Marketplaces

Chapter 1 Voices of Subsistence Consumers and Entrepreneurs
Chapter 2 Understanding Needs, Products, and Markets for Subsistence Consumers
Chapter 3 Understanding Subsistence Entrepreneurs
Chapter 4 Consumer and Entrepreneurial Strengths and Vulnerabilities in Subsistence Marketplaces
Chapter 5 Drawing Macro-level Insights from Micro-level Understanding of Subsistence Marketplaces
Chapter 6 Understanding Subsistence Marketplaces
Chapter 7 Subsistence and Sustainability
Section I Summary

Section II: What This Means: Designing Solutions For Subsistence Marketplaces

Chapter 8 Product Development for Subsistence Marketplaces
Chapter 9 Marketing for Subsistence Marketplaces
Chapter 10 Designing Enterprise Models for Subsistence Marketplaces: Doing Well by Doing Good
Chapter 11 Research Methods for Subsistence Marketplaces
Chapter 12 Creating Educational Initiatives on Radically Different Contexts
Chapter 13 Social Initiatives in Subsistence Marketplaces: The Marketplace Literacy Program
Chapter 14 – Lessons Learned in Moving From Basic Research to Practice in Subsistence Marketplaces
Section II Summary

In this book, through an immersive and interactive experience, we aim to a) provide you a fundamental understanding of subsistence marketplaces, b) offer a sense of how solutions can be designed for these marketplaces, and c) explore how these solutions work for different entities. We created this material for multiple audiences—students, educators, managers, and policy makers—and we intend it as a starting point rather than a culmination of learning about subsistence marketplaces. You’ll find rich sets of materials to explore along the way through our web portal, including very comprehensive reports of yearlong projects that serve as intensive case studies, videos produced to provide insights about subsistence marketplaces, and immersion exercises to understand needs and generation ideas for solutions. We use the term subsistence to cover the broad range of low income, covering individuals who are barely making ends meet. Our perspective is bottom-up, beginning with a nuanced, micro-level understanding of behaviors and contexts. This contrasts with relatively macro-level approaches, such as macro-economic perspectives that examine country- and region-level trends or meso-level business strategy approaches, such as the bottom of the pyramid perspective, which examine issues of business strategy of organizations working in these contexts. Instead, we adopt a micro-level approach and begin with life circumstances at the individual and community level, with a particular focus on marketplace interactions. From this micro-level understanding, we stitch together aggregate-level insights about designing solutions, such as developing products or designing enterprises. Our work on subsistence marketplaces over the course of many years has created unique synergies between research, teaching, and social initiatives. In all three arenas, our work involves engagement of students, businesses, and social enterprises as well as a diverse set of faculty and campus entities across different disciplines. The material presented in this book draws on this rich set of experiences.

The book is published through (an enterprise that has been very professional and responsive to all our queries and provides a variety of distribution options) and etext Inc. (a startup spun off from etext Illinois with considerable academic experience, which provides an interface that can be customized and continuously improved to maximize the student experience, and is very responsive to customer queries.)

The eBook website will be at

The eBook is available at the following websites:

Etext Inc – Publisher – Direct link to book

eBookpartnership – Publisher
Amazon – Direct link to book

Apple – Direct link to book

Barnes and Noble Coming soon 

WH Smith Coming soon 

Overdrive Coming soon

A Coursera offering on Subsistence Marketplaces designed at the University of Illinois begins January 13th –

This 8 week course is divided into two distinct modules on understanding subsistence marketplaces and designing solutions.

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