Abstract: In this paper we analyze the role of marketing in the construction of what can be called the hegemony of development. Through an investigation of the marketing practices of the pulp and paper industry in South America and the resistances that are articulated by a range of civil society actors against the expansion of this industry, we problematize marketing as a political and contested discourse and practice. By using Laclau and Mouffe’s (1985, 2001) theoretical framework, which is centered on the concept of ‘hegemony’, we highlight the crucial role marketing plays in the social and cultural legitimation of the highly controversial development of the pulp and paper industry – regarded as one of the most polluting industries in the world – in South America. We build on existing ‘critical marketing’ literatures to critique marketing’s role in spreading ‘development’ practices around the world, and we introduce Laclau and Mouffe’s theories to the marketing field in order to understand better the way marketing helps to produce ‘development’ as a hegemonic discourse in a particular social and cultural field. In this way we contribute to a growing understanding that critical marketing research is not only about exposing and analyzing the discourses and practices that drive consumption. Rather, we see marketing as an ontological discourse and practice that is crucial for the cultural and social legitimation of the development of entire industries and economic spheres.
Categories: Journal Papers