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The liminality of branding: interweaving discourses 'making up' a cultural intermediary occupation

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Marketing Theory
Issue number3
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)361-382
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date18/03/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article explores how the occupation of branding and the work it encompasses are discursively constituted and ‘made up’. It starts with the premise that branding is a cultural intermediary occupation about whose norms and practices we cannot assume certainty, stability or homogeneity. The study illustrates how branding is comprised of multiple social and occupational discourses, namely, ‘creativity’, ‘discovery’, ‘business’ and ‘morality’. Rather than stand alone, these discourses dynamically interweave and intersect. Consequently, branding emerges as an occupation with distinct liminal conditions, being simultaneously about art, science, business and social relational work. Instead of moving towards stability, our findings suggest that branding is an intermediary occupation that sustains rather than discontinues liminality and that enduring liminality lends itself to the non-distinctiveness of the occupation. For branders, occupying a liminal occupational position implies various challenges but similarly scopes for flexibility and autonomy.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Marketing Theory, 16 (3), 2016, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2016 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Marketing Theory page: http://mtq.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/