Marketing Discourse

  • Fougère, Martin (Project manager, academic)

Project: Externally funded project

Project Details


The first paper revolves around the idea that service management, one of the most important elaborations of marketing scholarship during the latest decades, makes organizations and individuals become normal. Our standpoint contradicts the argument within service management, where the claim is that by adopting service management technologies, organizations and their members will become excellent. In order to strengthen our position we analyze the service management discourse in general and a technology labeled the gap-model in particular by drawing on Foucault’s concept disciplinary power. Following Foucault, we focus on how service management discourse and the gap-model make people objects and subjects. In our discussion we find support for our claim that service management, the gap-model in particular, creates normality – not excellence. We conclude that focusing on service management contributes to the scarce critical examination of marketing in general, and service management in particular. Further, the paper contributes to the investigation of the production of subjectivity and normalization – central themes in critical management studies – as an effect of marketing technologies. Informed by Foucault’s concept of governmentality, the second paper provides a critical reading of the marketing discourse. Based on reviews of the history of marketing scholarship, we identify three periods - ‘early marketing thought’ (c. 1900-1960), ‘marketing management’ (c. 1950-1985) and ‘service marketing’ (c. 1975-present) – which we base our analysis on in the paper. For each period we focus on analyzing what marketing seeks to govern, how marketing governs and who we become when governed by marketing. We find that customer orientation has become the dominant governmental regime in marketing – it has embedded the marketing discourse deeper and deeper as time has gone by. The paper contributes to critical analyses of management discourse broadly defined, and to critical analyses of marketing more particularly.
Effective start/end date01.09.200331.12.2007


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