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‘Clap for “some” carers’: Problematizing heroism and ableist tenets of heroic discourse through the experiences of parent-carers

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Marketing Theory
Issue number1
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)11-32
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date2/09/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Marketing scholarship has commonly demonstrated how consumers assemble heroic identities as a means to facilitate forms of empowerment and emancipatory consumption. Although some insight into more troubling aspects of heroic discourses has been shared, prioritisation of the positive potentialities of heroism remain privileged. We invoke social heroism as an interpretive lens to study the lived experiences of parent-carer’s to children with impairments, employing paradoxes of heroism as heuristics to explore how heroic discourses disempower parent-carers. We find that parent-carers do not identify with the heroism surrounding care. Instead, they view themselves as unessential due to the ableist tenets that underlie heroic discourses. We uncover three problematizing and subtle practices of ableism; purification, micro-aggressions and responsibilized-commoditization. Such insight, (i) advances marketing theory’s understanding of the socio-political structuring of heroism, (ii) advances discourse on consumer vulnerabilities and ableism and (iii) begins to meet the calls for research into care politics and justice.