Social Change and Inclusion


Critiques of Social Marketing's Approaches to Address Social Change: Issues, Challenges and Debates about Inclusion, Special issue of Journal of Social Marketing; Deadline 1 Dec 2016

Critiques of social marketing’s approaches to address social change: Issues, challenges and debates about inclusion

Special issue call for papers from the Journal of Social Marketing

Guest Editors: Dr Josephine Previte and Professor Linda Brennan

Social marketing scholarship and practice is at a cross-roads of social change; offering practitioners, policy makers and industry stakeholders various technologies, frameworks and principles for understanding problem behaviours that put at risk individual and population health and social well-being in many countries. Increasingly social marketing ‘problems’ are requiring multi-level and multi-dimensional solutions to address wide ranging problems that are characterised as ‘wicked problems’ because they are socially and politically complex, and open-ended in that during the process of finding solutions, the problem continues to change and evolve. Additionally, how to address such problems will be viewed differently depending on the perspectives and biases of those with a stake in the problem (Rittel and Webber, 1973). This special issue calls for contributors interested in identifying and explaining the role of social marketing in solving social problems and how social marketing technologies can be applied to engage with industries, governments and partners in order to foster sustainable societal benefit.

A decade ago Andreasean (2006) pointed out that successful social marketing takes into account both upstream and downstream perspectives, because strategies involving representatives from both stakeholder groups are likely to be complementary and interactive in achieving social change objectives. More recently, Hoek and Jones (2011, p.41) called for a ‘rapprochement between upstream and downstream social marketers’. It is timely to reconsider extant thinking about the disparate ‘streams’ in social marketing as limited progress has been made in understanding, developing and evaluating the complex interrelationships and collaborative partnerships between the multiplicity of stakeholders needed to address wicked problems.

This issue specifically aims to bring together social marketing research and scholarship that examines collaboration between industry, government and communities. Furthermore, evidence is needed about public policy actions that leverage collaborative approaches. Progress in social marketing thinking and its application to a number of fields of research is well established. Brennan and Parker’s (2014) Special Edition of the Journal of Social Marketing (Vol 4, Issue 3) challenged thinking about social marketing and moving the discipline beyond behaviour change. They identified that social marketing can contribute more widely than the individual, and that wicked problems require collaborative efforts involving multiple perspectives focusing on the issue at hand. In extending this discussion about social marketing thinking and practice, this special issue calls for papers that examine how people, partners, industry organisations, and governments can and are working together to build sustainable social change. The focus of this special issue is to encourage discussion and critique about the role and influence of industry and social alliances and cross-sectorial partnerships in addressing wicked social problems.

Special issue scope:

Manuscript submission examining (but not restricted to) the following topics are encouraged:

  • Alliances and cross-sectorial partnerships in social marketing
  • Industry approaches to social marketing
  • Critiques of industry participation in social change programs
  • Critiques and issues facing those working with Governments to achieve social change
  • Philosophical and theoretical debates about the nature of social marketing for wicked problems
  • Case studies and empirical research which involve multiple actors across sectors
  • Marketing techniques for working in multi-level alliances in social marketing
  • Research methodologies required to document and analyse wicked problems.

This special issue of the Journal of Social Marketing will feature 4 published papers with guest commentaries from leading social marketing scholars. Enquiries about the special issue can be directed to the special issue Guest Editors: Dr Josephine Previte and Professor Linda Brennan, who can be contacted at – and

The submission process is as follows:

Step 1: Authors need to adhere to the guidelines of JSOCM. The JSOCM word limit is 6000-8000 words. For other information about the journal, including specific author guidelines, please visit

Step 2: Articles aimed at JSOCM should be submitted via Scholar One. Authors must indicate the paper is submitted for the World Social Marketing Conference Special Issue in the submission process. The deadline for submissions is 1 December 2016.

Step 3: Manuscripts will undergo a blind peer review process. We hope to notify authors of the review outcome in March 2017. Authors may need to revise their papers following the initial review.

Step 4: Following additional rounds of revision as needed, final papers must be submitted by 1 May 2017 for inclusion in Volume 7, Issue 3 of the Journal of Social Marketing.