Vulnerable Consumers


Understanding Vulnerable, Stigmatized, and Marginalized Consumers in Service Settings, Special issue Journal of Services Marketing; Deadline 30 May 2016

Understanding Vulnerable, Stigmatized, and Marginalized Consumers in Service Settings

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Services Marketing

Deadline for full paper submission: 30 May 2016

This special issue aims at extending the Transformative Service Research by exploring how vulnerable, stigmatized, and marginalized consumers use, or refrain from using, services in their daily lives and experiences.

To date, service researchers have explored how vulnerable consumers, in terms of race and ethnicity, experience discrimination in service settings such as banks and automobile dealerships. Although we have a great deal of knowledge regarding how vulnerable, stigmatized, and marginalized consumers often experience the brunt of discrimination during service exchanges, we know considerably less about how these consumers employ strategies that influence how they use services. For example, some poor consumers in Latin America may purposely opt out of the formal banking system and use “loan sharks” because of their convenience and ease-of-use. Transgendered males-to-females may work with retail management in order to shop for cosmetics before store operating hours, and older-aged adults may turn a restaurant into a mahjong center during off-hours. In essence, vulnerable, stigmatized, and marginalized consumers often vivify service settings in particular manners and employ strategies that help them maximize their satisfaction. This special edition seeks to uncover these strategies and to develop our theoretical understanding regarding the lived experiences of vulnerable, stigmatized, and marginalized consumers in service settings.


Submissions can be conceptual or empirical in nature, approached from marketing, sociological, or anthropological perspectives. A variety of empirical approaches are acceptable (e.g. ethnographic, survey, experimental or archival research), as are insights from different parts of the globe. We encourage researchers to explore how consumer behavior is influenced by social structures and physical environmental factors. The main criterion for publications is that the submission has original value.

Suggested topics include:

How the following groups use services, or refrain from using services in their daily lives

  • Children
  • Older-aged and elderly consumers
  • Gay, lesbian, and transgendered consumers
  • Obese consumers
  • Lonely consumers
  • Consumers with mental health problems
  • Victims of violence, crime and natural disasters
  • Stigmatized customer or service workers in service settings
  • Recent immigrants
  • Physically handicapped/disabled consumers
  • Consumers with visible bodily deformities
  • Developmentally challenged consumers
  • Consumers with Tattooed, bodily modifications
  • Poor/Low Income consumers
  • Commercial sex workers
  • End of life consumers

Papers must conclude with well-supported research directions, trends or opportunities which contribute to the development of a vibrant culture of service(s) marketing research.


All manuscripts submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or be currently under consideration elsewhere.

Manuscripts should be submitted in accordance with the author guidelines available on the journal home page at

All submissions should be made via the ScholarOne online submission system and should be made to the special issue which is identified on the submission site.

Please direct any further inquiries to the editors, listed below.

Please note that it will not be possible to submit until 20th January 2016.

Guest Editor Contact Details

Dr. Mark S. Rosenbaum
Kohl’s Professor of Marketing, Northern Illinois University, USA
Associate Professor, Externado University, Colombia

Dr. Tali Seger-Guttmann
Head of the Business Administration Department
Ruppin Academic Center, Israel

Dr. Mario Geraldo
Assistant Professor
Universidad Del Norte, Colombia