Health Technology Markets


Revolutions and Transformations in Health Technology Markets: New Marketing Directions, Special issue of Recherche et Applications en Marketing; Deadline 14 Jan 2024

POSTING TYPE: Calls: Journals

Author: Jennifer Takhar

Call for papers for Recherche et Applications en Marketing 2025 Special Issue

Revolutions and Transformations in Health Technology Markets: New Marketing Directions

Guest Editors:

  • Prof. Jennifer Takhar (ISG Business School, France)
  • Prof. Anna Schneider-Kamp (University of Southern Denmark, Denmark)
  • Prof. Vitor Lima (ESCP Business School, Madrid)
  • Prof. Russell Belk (Schulich School of Business, York University, Canada)

Deadline: January 14th 2024

Submission platform:


Past and recent literature in the field of marketing has offered keen insights on health markets and concomitant consumer behaviours (Thompson, 2004; Balbo and Gavard-Perret, 2015; Haws et al. 2017). In 2020 a special virtual issue on healthcare marketing published in RAM refocused critical attention on behavioural intentions, persuasion strategies and consumer affect opening with an editorial that called for the pursuit of health-related research in marketing (Gotteland, 2020). Our special issue responds directly to this appeal. It intends to urge and expand health market debates in the current bio-tech century which has transformed healthcare, health practices and consumer experiences. The significant growth of health technology markets is to a large degree fuelled by novel, ‘revolutionary’ applications that include digital and nanobio technologies (Bailey, 2005; Duggal et al. 2018) yet they remain understudied and undertheorised by marketing and consumer behaviour scholars.

Theorisation generated by marketing and consumer researchers has already provided valuable insights into health-related, human-technology relationships in the contexts of biohacking (Lima et al., 2022), transhumanism through self-directed human evolution (Belk, 2021; Lima & Belk, 2022; Takhar et al., 2022), the ambivalent consumption of assisted reproductive technologies (Takhar, 2020; Takhar, 2022a, 2022b), consumer self-tracking (Bode and Kristensen, 2016; DuFault and Schouten, 2018), and multiple consumer-object assemblages for smart assisted living (Schneider-Kamp & Askegaard, 2022). Broader sociological theories such as Bourdieusian capital theory and social emotions have contributed to an improved understanding of healthcare technologies and consumption (Schneider-Kamp, 2021; Mimoun et al., 2022). Our inclusion of the term ‘revolutions’ in this call relates not only to radically new innovations but also to their transformational effects on consumers. We therefore underline a fundamental objective for this special issue: encouraging contributions around consumer affect, (Ahmed, 2013) emancipation, risk perception, stress (Maté, 2019), techno-optimism (Guston, 2010) and surveillance (Lupton, 2014; Martinez-Martin, 2018) in technologized health contexts. Affective reactions play a pivotal role in health (Agrawal et al. 2007; Bowen et al. 2004; Pressman et al. 2019) with marketing scholars having observed that excessive patient involvement can significantly raise stress levels (Kahn et al. 1997) as in the case of rising self-quantification (Ajana, 2017; Sharon, 2017), personal health informatics and self-quantification systems.

Central to health technology innovations and their consumption are bioethical concerns which constitute fertile terrain for new ethical theorisation that questions and/or expands the principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice (Beauchamp and Childress, 2019). Some current technological developments in healthcare blur the line between treating and cheating (Dal Bo, 2021; Jeske, 2020; Waltz, 2017) potentially leading to undesired outcomes. For example, by ingesting smart drugs, consumers may experience dehumanisation rather than the desired “superhumanisation” (Castelo, Schmitt and Sarvary, 2019). Here, consumer desires determine and at the same time problematise beneficence, nonmaleficence, ‘ethical’ medical practices, and health marketplace hierarchies, creating gaps for novel conceptualisations. If we consider autonomy and the lack of consumer healthcare literacy, the consumption of some direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests that may determine healthcare decisions pose considerable challenges (Pearson and Liu-Thompkins, 2012; Gill, Obley and Prasad, 2018). In some cases, consumers use genetic tests from companies such as 23andme ( as a blueprint to conceive, try, evaluate, and share DIY healthcare solutions on social media. This could lead to further misinformation, fake health news, fake health ‘facts’, and conspiracy theories, similar to what has been witnessed during the COVID- 19 pandemic (Mende, Vallen and Berry, 2021). Another relevant yet understudied ethical question we ask is what 23andme can and may do with the genetic information of its current 12 million customers worldwide (Seife, 2013). Finally, justice is defined as the fair, equitable, and adequate distribution of health resources in the form of benefits and norms. One meaningful question is whether consuming a particular drug or engaging in a specific social practice affects others, as in the case of anti-vaxxers. From these bioethical perspectives, revolutions and transformations in health are influenced by society’s views about morality (Silchenko and Askegaard, 2020; Hill, 2018).

Expected contributions

This special issue aims to further reflect upon, critically analyse, and develop theoretical and methodological perspectives, both quantitative and qualitative, for the investigation of market phenomena such as wearable technologies, self-quantification, digital health consumption, telehealth, Internet-of-Things, and DIY health practices. We therefore invite critical, cross-disciplinary contributions from marketing scholars, consumer researchers, and public health researchers, addressing the theoretical and methodological implications of these or other related phenomena.

Research questions problematizing these phenomena might therefore include (but are certainly not limited to) the following:

  • Can consumer research inform patient-centric perspectives in health technology markets?
  • What are the ethical implications of health surveillance?
  • How effectively can health technologies facilitate preventive medicine?
  • How does digital health consumption facilitate self-realisation and self-actualisation?
  • To what degree does human care have to involve humans as key delivery agents?
  • What are the ethical issues involved in xenotransplantation?
  • How are new health technologies transforming consumer experiences of illness?
  • Can consumers be empowered to thrive and steward their own health?
  • What are the determinants for consumer acceptance of robotic surgery?
  • How can trust, compassion, and caring be interwoven in health and wellness settings?
  • What can elderly consumers’ smart living experiences teach us about improving healthcare?
  • How do health tech scandals (e.g., Theranos) impact consumer trust?
  • What is the impact of fuelling medical consumerism with online information?
  • How do bio-innovations impact and ameliorate ‘chronic living’ (Wahlberg, 2021) experiences?
  • Can capital theory provide an explanatory framework for techno-health consumption?
  • How do digital health technologies impact existing health inequalities?

This list is not exhaustive, and any other questioning related to the theme of the call is, of course, welcome. Articles may be empirical or conceptual, proposed in the form of a research article or a research note, a review or a “new perspective” paper.

Submissions must comply with RAM’s guidelines. Proposals must be submitted directly on the platform, no later than January 14th 2024. The submission platform will be open from December 1st 2023. Articles can be submitted in both French and English. The special issue will be published online in the 3rd quarter of 2025. Accepted manuscripts will be published in French and English.

Finally, RAM is committed to transparent science and promotes the reproducibility of research. As such, the journal strongly encourages data sharing. For more information, please refer to the submission instructions at:


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Ajana, B., 2017. Digital health and the biopolitics of the Quantified Self. Digital Health, 3, p.2055207616689509.

Bailey, R. (2005) Liberation biology : the scientific and moral case for the biotech revolution. Amherst, N.Y: Prometheus Books.

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Dal Bo, E. and Xu, G., 2021. Theranos: How Did a $9 Billion Health Tech Startup End Up DOA?. The Berkeley-Haas Case Series. University of California, Berkeley. Haas School of Business.

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Gill, J., Obley, A.J. and Prasad, V. (2018) ‘Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: The Implications of the US FDA’s First Marketing Authorization for BRCA Mutation Testing’. JAMA, 319 (23), pp. 2377-2378.

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Hill, R.P. (2018) ‘Theory of marketplace morality and impoverished consumers’. Marketing Theory, 18 (3), pp. 411-420

Jeske, M., 2020. Lessons from Theranos: Changing Narratives of Individual Ethics in Science and Engineering. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society, 6, pp.306-311.

Kahn, B., Greenleaf, E., Irwin, J., Isen, A., Levin, I., Luce, M., Pontes, M., Shanteau, J., Vanhuele, M. and Young, M., 1997. Examining medical decision making from a marketing perspective. Marketing Letters, 8(3), pp.361-375.

Lima, V. M., Pessôa, L. A., & Belk, R. W. (2022). The Promethean biohacker: On consumer biohacking as a labour of love. Journal of Marketing Management, 38(5–6), 483–514.

Lima, V. and Belk, R., 2022. Human enhancement technologies and the future of consumer well-being. Journal of Services Marketing.

Lupton, D., 2014. Critical perspectives on digital health technologies. Sociology compass, 8(12), pp.1344-1359.

Martinez-Martin, N. and Char, D., 2018. Surveillance and digital health. The American journal of bioethics: AJOB, 18(9), p.67.

Manderson, L. and Wahlberg, A., 2020. Chronic living in a communicable world. Medical Anthropology, 39(5), pp.428-439.

Maté, G., 2011. When the body says no: The cost of hidden stress. Vintage Canada.

Mende, M., Vallen, B. and Berry, C. (2021) ‘We’ve Got News for You: Marketing in News Organizations Contributes to Infodemics…but Marketing Can Also Help!’. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 40 (3), pp. 326-330.

Mimoun, L., Trujillo-Torres, L. and Sobande, F., 2022. Social emotions and the legitimation of the fertility technology market. Journal of Consumer Research, 48(6), pp.1073-1095.

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Schneider-Kamp, A. (2021). Health Capital: Toward a conceptual framework for understanding the construction of individual health. Social Theory & Health, 19(3), 205–219.

Schneider-Kamp, A., & Askegaard, S. (2022). Reassembling the Elderly Consumption Ensemble: Retaining Independence through Smart Assisted Living Technologies. Journal of Marketing Management.

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Takhar, J. (2022b). Communicative crises in the age of anxious reproduction and fertility preservation. Consumption Markets & Culture, 1-7.

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