A Place for Provocation: Stimulating Theories of Market Spatiality

Call for papers for: Qualitative Market Research

Guest Editor: Jack Coffin, University of Manchester: [email protected]


Despite decades of research (see Giovanardi and Lucarelli, 2018), marketing theorists are still (increasingly) interested in studies of space and place (Chatzidakis et al. 2018). In particular, the literature on place marketing/branding is booming (Medway et al. 2021). Somewhat uniquely for marketing theory, practitioners are also heavily involved (Warnaby and Medway, 2013), with much managerial focus on concepts like atmospherics (Kotler, 1973) and servicescapes (Bitner, 1992).

Spatial theorisations attract attention from across the disciplinary spectrum, from environmental psychologists (e.g. Turley and Milliman, 2000) and CCT scholars (e.g. Kozinets et al. 2002), and many between and beyond. Following Coffin and Chatzidakis (2021), we can summarise that market spatiality is an interdisciplinary area of inquiry that intersects with practitioners, policy-makers, and many more beyond the ivory towers of academia.

Some might suggest that all this interest means that market spatiality may soon reach a state of theoretical saturation. What more can be said about the relationships between spaces, places, markets, and consumption? Yet, recent contributions have shown that many more possibilities lie beyond the current horizon of thought (e.g. Coffin and Chatzidakis, 2021; Medway et al. 2021). So, this special issues calls for papers that provide ‘provocative theories’ (Sandberg and Alvesson, 2021), challenging assumptions and conventions in order to open up new horizons for spatial philosophy, practice, policy, and pedagogy.

As the purpose of this special issue is to provoke new possibilities, rather than present fully-fledged theorisations, this call invites papers of around 5000 words each.


A list of possible provocations are provided below, but this is illustrative rather than exhaustive:

  • Place Branding is Dead, Long Live Place Branding?
  • Beyond Phenomenology: Understanding Places without Meaning
  • Taking ‘Genius Loci’ Literally: An Object-Oriented Ontology of Place
  • Back to Basics: The Impact of Distances, Arrangements, and Directions on Marketing and Consumption
  • Placing Qualitative Research with Situated Epistemologies
  • Feminist, Post-Colonial, or Marxist Theories of Space and Place
  • Empty Space: Does Everywhere Need to Become a Marketplace?

Deadline and Submission Details

The submission deadline for all papers is the 31st of January 2022, with a planned publication date of July 2023.

To submit your research, please visit: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/qmr

To view the author guidelines for this journal, please visit: https://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/journal/qmr#author-guidelines

If you have any questions or want to discuss a particularly provocative idea, please contact the Guest Editor at [email protected].  



Bitner, M. (1992). “Servicescapes: the impact of physical surroundings on customers and employees.” Journal of Marketing, 56(2), 57–71.

Chatzidakis, A., Morven, M., & Warnaby, G. (2018). “Consumption in and of space and place: introduction to the special issue.” Marketing Theory, 18(2), 149–153.

Coffin, J. and Chatzidakis, A. (2021) “The Möbius strip of market spatiality: mobilizing transdisciplinary dialogues between CCT and the marketing mainstream.” AMS Review, 11, 40-59.

Giovanardi, M., & Lucarelli, A. (2018). “Sailing through marketing: A critical assessment of spatiality in marketing literature.” Journal of Business Research, 82, 149–159.

Kotler, P. (1973). Atmospherics as a marketing tool. Journal of Retailing, 49(4), 48–64.

Kozinets, R., Sherry, J., DeBerry-Spence, B., Duhachek, A., Nuttavuthisit, K., and Storm, D. (2002) Themed Flagship Brand Stores in the New Millennium: Theory, Practice, Prospects.” Journal of Retailing, 78(1), pp.17-29.

Medway, D., Warnaby, G., and Byrom, J. (2021) “A Research Agenda for Place Branding”, Edited Volume, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK.

Sandberg, J. & Alvesson, M. (2020). Meanings of theory: clarifying theory through typification.  Journal of Management Studies. EarlyCite.

Turley, L., & Milliman, R. (2000). Atmospheric efects on shopping behaviour: a review of the experimental evidence. Journal of Business Research, 49(2), 193–211.

Warnaby, G., & Medway, D. (2013). What about the ‘place’ in place marketing? Marketing Theory, 13(3), 345–363.