Critical and Creative Marketing Pedagogies


Confronting Rhetoric, Addressing Inequality, Inspiring Change, Special issue of the Journal of Marketing Management; Deadline 2 Aug 2021

POSTING TYPE: Calls: Journals

Author: Anne Foy

Journal of Marketing Management Special Issue Call for Papers

Title: Critical and Creative Marketing Pedagogies: Confronting Rhetoric, Addressing Inequality, Inspiring Change

Guest Editors:  Teresa Heath, University of Minho, Portugal; Mona Moufahim, University of Stirling, UK & Lisa O’Malley, University of Limerick, Ireland

Deadline for submissions: 2 August 2021

For the full Call for Papers including References, and detailed information on how to submit your manuscript, please visit:

“As educators, we do our students a disservice by presenting marketing theory and practice in overly rosy terms. This world is not rosy. Business practice reflects, refracts, moulds and magnifies the best and worst traits of humanity. It invokes sexist, racist, colonial and any number of other distasteful discourses to cement market positions.” (Tadajewski, 2016, 1522)

As marketing educators, it seems reasonable to want to present our discipline in the best possible light, to engage students with the potential of marketing theory and to invoke passion for innovative marketing practices. However, marketing theory is not value free and marketing practice is not above reproach. Indeed, many extremely questionable (and some illegal) practices are justified with respect to the requirements of shareholder value and the rhetoric of customer focus. Thus, in order to satisfy the (apparently insatiable) demands of consumers for high quality at low prices, numerous injustices prevail including violation of worker’s rights, use of child labour, harm to animal welfare, environmental degradation, and the pervasiveness of problematic marketing strategies and practices.

It behoves us (individually and as an academy) to recognise and address the challenges we face as a society and the role and impact of marketing within these. Failure to do so denies students a comprehensive education in marketing (Tadajewski, 2016), thwarts the development of their critical and creative capacities (Heath et al., 2019), and leaves them unprepared for the challenges they will face as marketing practitioners (Catterall et al., 2002). Promisingly, a growing number of marketing educators have sought to reinvent curricula and approaches to teaching and learning amidst financial and social crises. They envision marketing (and the marketing classroom) as sites in which to “dream big” and interact with their students as potentially powerful “social architects” (Murray & Ozanne, 2009, p. 838). The unprecedent scale of challenges caused by the current pandemic and concurrent civil unrests across the globe, make such reflexions particularly timely. These also cast light on our responsibility as marketing scholars and educators to reflect upon our impact on students’ development. Whether we chose to address market imbalances or stick to positive narratives that glamorize the discipline, and how we address these topics, will shape our students’ mindset and behaviour.

The move to transform management education has gained relevance with the increasing influence of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) on Business Schools profiles and their accreditation agenda. A growing interest in critical pedagogies, concerned with developing students as “critical beings” (Barnett, 1997, p.61) who find in critical reflection a medium for emancipation (Alvesson & Willmott, 1992; Dehler, 2009), provides useful lenses for envisioning transformation and encourages mentalities commensurate to such changes. Thus, no longer confined to the margins, critical management education (and critical marketing) has gained momentum.

However, a critical approach to marketing curricula and pedagogy may be met with scepticism at both institutional and individual (student/educator) levels (Heath et al., 2019). After all, it disturbs an uncontested and self-legitimising rhetoric (see Hackley, 2003; Tadajewski, 2018), which provides students with straightforward and satisfying ways of making sense of marketing. Counteracting tendencies towards simplification (Dehler et al., 2001), a “problem-posing”, critical approach demands a continuous commitment from, and dialogue between, educators and students (Freire, 1978), exposing oppression and injustice (Dehler, 2009), and embracing uncomfortable questions, contestation, and instability. It further necessitates reflexivity (Cunliffe, 2009) from scholars about their claims to knowledge and preferred approaches to teaching marketing, and from students about their taken-for-granted ways of looking into the world. This, in turn, requires recognition of the political nature of marketing texts and education (Tadajewski, 2018), and commitment to actively imagine, and participate in, change (Murray & Ozanne, 2009).

While offering useful insights for informing critical reflection in the marketing classroom (e.g. Catterall et al., 1999, 2002; Schroeder, 2007), extant critical work in the marketing pedagogy has been relatively scarce and predominantly conceptual. In addition, transforming approaches often favour some issues of the sustainable agenda (e.g. natural environment) perhaps to the detriment of others (e.g. social injustice). This notwithstanding, calls to decolonise universities, business schools and curricula have started to gain traction.

This special issue endeavours to curate and celebrate efforts that transform marketing education towards greater reflexivity, solidarity, and pluralism. With the aim of inspiring change and of supporting sustainability in its various dimensions, we invite high-quality theoretical work, as well as empirical accounts of transformation efforts in the classroom. We are particularly interested in the intersection of ethical, sociological, historical, or other interdisciplinary insights with orienting education in marketing towards greater compassion, humanism (Freire, 1978; Dehler, 2009) and unapologetic goodness (Giacalone & Promislo, 2013). We are looking for novel, thought provoking, and imaginative submissions capable of fostering critical engagement. Towards this end, we welcome insightful reflexions, case studies, video-articles, and examples of (both failed and successful) experiments that explicitly tackle in their curriculum/pedagogical approaches issues of inequality, oppression, racism, deprivation or other forms of injustice, discrimination and threats to sustainability. We further invite submissions capable of bridging critical pedagogy with research and, thus, advance the theoretical fields of marketing and pedagogy. In addition, we welcome articles representing research conducted in diverse cultural contexts.

Submissions addressing, but not restricted to, the following topics are encouraged:

  • How do our own assumptions, viewpoints, experiences and backgrounds as scholars and educators, shape our understanding of what we should be teaching in marketing and how we should be teaching?
  • How can critical pedagogy be used to engender reflection and compassion in how we consider and address problematic areas of marketing?
  • What strategies and approaches are employed by marketing scholars to incorporate critical and moral reflection into the marketing curriculum?
  • What are the challenges and outcomes of such conceptualizations, frameworks or practices?
  • What theories and orientations inform marketing educators’ critical pedagogic efforts and how do they assess the outcomes of such practices?
  • How can marketing educators inspire students to be more critical and imaginative in reshaping practices of consumption and marketing in the face of current challenges?
  • How can marketing educators collaborate with students towards emancipation from restrictive social forces and how can the outcomes of such endeavour be assessed?
  • How do marketing educators negotiate resistance from students or institutions to implement changes to the curriculum and pedagogical approaches (e.g. embedding ethical frameworks, addressing sustainability and/or decolonizing the curriculum)?
  • How will the current challenges created by the pandemic reshape our marketing education practices and approaches?

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