For more information about Royal Holloway, please see this promotional video. To see a promotional video for the MA Consumption, Markets & Culture see here. To see a promotional video for the Royal Holloway School of Management, click here.

For more information about the Royal Holloway MA Marketing and MA Consumption, Culture & Marketing and the application process see here.

To get an understanding of the unique values that underly the MA Marketing and MA Consumption, Culture & Marketing programme please read these blog posts: Value of Scholarly Values, Importance of Reading and Morris Holbrook and Business Interest in Education.

Monday, 21 September 2015

advance readings

For those students about to commence studies in the Royal Holloway MA Marketing, I strongly urge you to conduct advance reading. This will prepare you for the way that we approach the subject of marketing and also, hopefully, create a common body of knowledge among the students which will facilitate better class discussion. Therefore I recommend the following texts:

1. Critical Marketing by Chris Hackley

This book is the essential reading for the Critical Marketing core module that will be presented by Chris Hackley. The emphasis on critical approaches, not just managerial application, is a distinctive aspect of the Royal Holloway MA Marketing and this book serves as a very helpful introduction that will allow students to orientate themselves around various parts of the programme content. In particular the book emphasises that marketing should be studied and understood with an intellectual robustness and roundedness that one would expect of any humanities or social science field of study.

2. Contemporary Issues in Marketing & Consumer Behaviour by Liz Parsons & Pauline Maclaran

This textbook is used by Pauline Maclaran as essential reading for the Contemporary Issues in Consumer Research core module. The text provides an overview of a diverse range of societal issues raised by marketing activity and contains contributions from a series of scholars. The text looks at the history of marketing thought, ethical consequences of marketing and gender implications among many other topics. In short the book provides a highly eclectic set of commentaries and analyses about the field of marketing and its consequences.

3. The Rise of Brands by Liz Moor

This book provides a wonderful overview about brands and analyses them from a variety of viewpoints and brings a theoretical richness which far exceeds the conventional framing of brands. Brands are reviewed historically and understood as ideological technologies during an era of neo-liberalism.

4. Brands: Meaning and Value in Media Culture by Adam Arvidsson
From years of teaching brands and branding it is clear that the concepts that students find most difficult to comprehend are the very theories that stem from this book. It is indeed a difficult read but bear with it because the analysis of branding that is presented is an excellent exploration into how we can understand value with reference to the vagueness and strangeness of brands as  immaterial social technologies. In an age where brands generate gigantic financial evaluations and can be thought of as the chief asset of organisations, Arvidsson's book works through the mechanics of how value can be understood. Yes, this is a difficult read but if you can get a good grasp of this theory, you will find the course much easier to engage with.

5. Inside Marketing: Practices, Ideologies & Devices by Detlev Zwick & Julien Cayla

While this book is not attached to any particular module and is indeed outrageously expensive (sorry), it provides an excellent series of commentaries that explore how marketing functions and is practiced. You can read my full review of the book here.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

No More Page 3: The Demise of a ‘British Institution’ by Sarah Glozer

It was here for over 50 years. Then, one day in 2015 it disappeared. Just as all of the ardent activists rejoiced in celebration, it came back, only for it to disappear again a few days later. Today, Page 3 (a daily photograph of a topless woman appearing on Page 3 of The Sun newspaper) no longer frequents the pages of one of the UK’s most distributed tabloids. Indeed amidst the confusion, Page 3 it seems, has moved online with fans being offered the chance to see ‘Nicola, 24, from London’ on The Sun’s website, should they so wish. Alongside colleagues at Copenhagen Business School (Dr. Lauren McCarthy and Dr. Glen Whelan), I have been exploring the role of the ‘No More Page 3’ movement in causing the demise of the Page 3 ‘British Institution’, conducting discursive research into the social media settings within which debate and dissent around such topical environmental and social issues is increasingly harboured.

Fresh from discussions at the Social Issues in Management track at the Academy of Management in Vancouver, we have gained a range of international perspectives on our research. We focus upon the study of nonmarket actors, most notably feminist activists, who use a corporate Facebook page for their campaign (No More Page 3) to remove topless women from The Sun daily newspaper on the grounds that such images perpetuate negative gender stereotypes. In our case, what we find interesting is that it is not the newspaper itself that is targeted (although activists have lobbied The Sun newspaper for some time), but it is the Facebook page of a retailer that stocks the newspaper, The Co-operative, that becomes a target for the activists. Therein, the feminist activists reframe responsibility for gender objectification as a Co-operative issue, casting the organisation as the responsible agent within the No More Page 3 debate.  

Positioning the sexual objectification of women in mass media as an entrenched social institution (Bingham, 2014; Leveson Inquiry, 2012), we observe the ‘institutional work’ (Lawrence & Suddaby, 2006) actors engage in to disrupt Page 3, one element of the larger institution. We also include the voices of online citizens who argue against the activists and aim to discursively maintain Page 3. In doing so, we identify three levels of argumentation within this ‘work’, imbued within micro (individual level) meso (organisational level) and macro (societal level) discursive practices. Together the on-going back and forth of these discourses, as part of institutional work processes, succeed in turning the corporate-run Facebook page of The Co-operative from a ‘corporate arena’ of citizenship into a ‘public arena’ of citizenship (Whelan, Moon and Grant 2013) where large-scale social and ethical issues are debated, far-removed from the corporate’s aims, roles or objectives. The corporate actor does not delete or moderate this ‘work’ but allows the discussions to occur, whilst refusing to comply with either of the groups’ wishes. We propose that the corporation here engages in a form of ‘suspended discourse’ (Dansou and Langley, 2012), which arguably acts as a form of institutional maintenance since The Co-operative continues to stock The Sun newspaper and implicate itself in No More Page 3 debate.

As we shape up our research for publication, our interest in ‘fourth wave’ feminism (Cochrane, 2014) and the power of social media in opening up discursive spaces for debate and deliberation continues to gather pace. For further details or comments on our research, please contact Dr. Sarah Glozer, School of Management, Royal Holloway, University of London:


Bingham, A. 2014. Pin-Up Culture and Page 3 in the Popular Press. pp. 184-198 in Andrews,
M. & McNamara, S. (eds.) Women and the Media: Feminism and Femininity in Britain, 1900 to the Present. London and New York: Routledge.

Cochrane, K. 2013. All the Rebel Women: The Rise of the Fourth Wave of Feminism.
London: Guardian Shorts.

Dansou, K. & Langley, A. 2012. Institutional Work and the Notion of Test. M@n@gement,
15(5): 502-527.

Lawrence, T. & Suddaby, R. 2006. Institutions and Institutional Work. In S. R. Clegg, C.
Hardy, T. B. Lawrence, & W. B. Nord (Eds.), Handbook of Organization Studies, pp. 215–254. London: Sage Publications.

Leveson Inquiry. 2012. Minutes of Evidence, Day 38- PM. 7th February, 2012.

Whelan, G., Moon, J. & Grant, B. 2013. Corporations and Citizenship Arenas in the Age of
Social Media. Journal of Business Ethics, 118 (4): 777-790.