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Marketplace Mythology and Discourses of Power

Craig J. Thompson
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 31, No. 1 (June 2004), pp. 162-180
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/383432
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/383432
Page Count: 19
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Marketplace Mythology and Discourses of Power
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Abstract

While drawing from general cultural myths, marketplace mythologies are tailored to the competitive characteristics and exigencies of specific market structures, providing meanings and metaphors that serve multiple ideological agendas. I illustrate this conceptualization by analyzing mythic narratives that circulate in the natural health marketplace. I propose that a nexus of institutional, competitive, and sociocultural conditions that engender different ideological uses of this marketplace mythology by two types of stakeholders: advertisers of herbal remedies and consumers seeking alternatives to their medical identities. I discuss the implications of this theorization for future analyses of consumer mythologies and for theoretical debates over whether consumers can become emancipated from the ideological influences exerted by the capitalist marketplace.

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