Revisit: Subsistence Marketplaces


Sixth Subsistence Marketplaces Conference, Champaign, IL, 17-19 Jun 2016; Deadline 31 Jan

The Sixth Subsistence Marketplaces Conference:

Developing Pathways at the Intersection of Interdisciplinary Research and Practice

June 17 – 19, 2016 | Champaign, Illinois at the I-Hotel

Organized by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Call for Papers

Conference Themes

Traversing Theory and Practice – Stakeholder Dialogues of Subsistence Marketplaces

Institutional and Organizational Dimensions of Enterprises and Partnerships 

Integration and Visioning in Subsistence Marketplaces Research

Survival, Subsistence, and Transformative Entrepreneurship

Sustainability and Consumption from the Bottom Up

Subsistence Narratives, Incentives, and Agency

Disruption, Technology, and Innovation

Curricular Innovations

Junior Scholar Mentorship


Conference Co-Chairs

Raed Elaydi

Roosevelt University

Roland Gau

University of Texas at El Paso

Lisa Jones Christensen
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Conference Director

Madhu Viswanathan
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Conference Coordinator

Anne McKinney
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Subsistence marketplaces consist of consumer and entrepreneur communities living at a range of low income levels, and are concentrated in developing countries and regions such as Brazil, India, China, Vietnam, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, many individuals and groups in developed countries also live in subsistence. In the last decade, the Subsistence Marketplaces Conference has been a leading forum for evolving and sharing research and fostering best practices in these communities. The subsistence marketplaces approach is unique in examining the intersection of poverty and marketplaces with a bottom-up approach that begins with micro-level understanding of life circumstances of consumers, entrepreneurs, and communities. This stream has been reflected in five biennial conferences and almost 60 refereed articles in related special journal issues, as well as in dedicated session tracks at other conferences and refereed articles in a variety of journals.
In its sixth iteration, the 2016 conference is titled to highlight how subsistence marketplaces are at the intersection of diverse disciplines as well as the interface of research and practice. A key emphasis now is to look back to the previous five conferences and the resultant research, education, and practice; as well as to look forward to pave new pathways for current and emerging scholars. In doing so, the conference will highlight boundary-spanning research and practice and work that moves from research to practice and back again. Thus, we aim to highlight the importance of rigorous and relevant research and how such research is informed by, and can further inform, meaningful and engaged practice.
The specific themes for this conference help organize the broad work in the field and facilitate discussion among participants:
Traversing Theory and Practice – Stakeholder Dialogues of Subsistence Marketplaces – refers to developing a deeper conceptual understanding of subsistence marketplaces and its linkage to business, social enterprise, and policy
The Institutional and Organizational Dimensions of Enterprises and Public Partnerships – examines the unique aspects of institution building, organizational design, and market creation in subsistence marketplaces, covering social and commercial enterprises        
Integration and Visioning in Subsistence Marketplaces Research – develops a vision for extending research and integrating them across disciplines and/or stakeholders and with practice, generating research problems with implications for practice examining how research can translate to practice and vice versa, and research at the interface of disciplines ranging from the physical to the social sciences
Survival, Subsistence, and Transformative Entrepreneurship – examines the nature of survival at both a material and psychological level, and how entrepreneurship can facilitate the evolution from surviving to thriving
Sustainability and Consumption from the Bottom Up – examines how consumption and long-term perspectives on environmental, social, and/or economic changes in subsistence interact and impact individuals, organizations, and/or institutions engaged in subsistence marketplaces
Subsistence Narratives, Incentives, and Agency – examines the processes that surround justice and empowerment for individuals as consumers, entrepreneurs, and producers; as well as implications for organizations and/or institutions engaged in subsistence marketplaces
Disruption, Technology, and Innovation – examines how technology and innovation can cause disruptive forces, and how the benefits/drawbacks of those disruptive forces can be better understood and employed from the perspectives of individuals, organizations, and/or institutions
Curricular Innovations – refers to the development of modules, courses, and programs that bring subsistence marketplaces into the classroom and around the world through online education
Junior Scholar Mentorship – connects junior scholars with those with experience in the field and in the academy to facilitate research and develop long-term relationships
The conference begins with an evening reception Friday, June 17, and sessions through Saturday and midafternoon Sunday, June 19. The conference purposefully includes a blend of plenary sessions, participatory workshops, special topical sessions, and presentations of papers submitted in response to this call. The emphasis is on sharing nascent ideas and knowledge (or new and provocative questions) among researchers, practitioners, and students. 
Friday afternoon, June 17, is dedicated to a pre-conference workshop designed specifically for doctoral students and junior researchers.
A poverty simulation takes place, the evening of June 17.
Academics, students, social entrepreneurs, policy makers, and business and nonprofit practitioners are encouraged to submit papers and attend.
Suggested Topics
The following are suggestions for topics; however, submissions may go beyond these topics.

        Consumer behavior in subsistence marketplaces

        Entrepreneurship in subsistence marketplaces

        Substantive domains of subsistence (e.g., water, sanitation, energy, food)

        Emergence of marketing systems

        Environmentalism of subsistence consumers and consumer-merchants

        Issues of environmental justice relating to subsistence marketplaces

        Sustainable product design for subsistence marketplaces

        Inventing and re-inventing new products and services for subsistence marketplaces

        Organization design and redesign for operating in subsistence marketplaces

        Collaborative models for business innovations

        Supply chain and distribution challenges and opportunities

        Pricing for value and sustainability

        Marketing communication and education

        Innovative research methods

        Economic and financial perspectives on subsistence marketplaces (e.g., financial literacy)

        Health, well-being, and justice in subsistence marketplaces

        Merging social and business missions through social innovations

        Incorporating business practices in nonprofit organizations developing social innovations

        Social innovation alliances and partnerships among NGOs, governments, and businesses

        Bringing subsistence contexts into the classroom

        Multidisciplinary teaching initiatives addressing subsistence phenomena and regions

Abstract Submission Requirements
All authors are asked to submit a three-page abstract, from which acceptance decisions will be made and preliminary session planning will be carried out. Proposals for special sessions are also welcome.
Page 1: 
Suggested theme(s) for which the submission is to be considered (papers do not have to fit any particular theme),
Author(s) with full contact information including email.
Pages 2-3: Double-spaced abstract of the paper or special session, inclusive of a list of selected references, tables, and/or other key materials.
Format: Please email as a Word attachment to
Submission Deadline: 31 January 2016
Notification of Review Decision: 15 February 2016
Submissions for Journal Review for Special Issue
A special issue or a special section of a journal is likely to be published based on articles developed from research presented at the conference and submitted to the review process. Prior conferences have led to a book (Advances in International Management series by Elsevier in 2007), and special issues/sections of journals (Journal of Business Research, Journal of Macromarketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing). Further details will be available as they are finalized. A tentative schedule is as follows:
Submission Deadlines for Full Drafts:
September 30, 2016: Deadline for paper submission after incorporation of comments from conference participants and conference chairs
November 30, 2016: Feedback to authors after peer review
January 31, 2017: Deadline for revised submission
May 31, 2017: Final deadline for subsequent revisions
Publication Submission Requirements
Page 1: Title, author(s), and full contact information (including e-mail).
Pages 2-35: Double-spaced paper not to exceed 35 pages including references, appendices, and exhibits.
Format: Please email as a Word attachment to