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Deadline: 20 August 2020

Transhumanisms, Geneticised Markets and Perfectible Consumers

Above all we need to be brave and think about our biological future in a transbiological age.

-Sarah Franklin 2009

Present and future scenarios of transhumanisms and human advancement technologies remain understudied in the marketing field (Belk, 2016; Castelo et al., 2016). However the same topics have fueled significant, scholarly production in adjacent disciplines such as sociology, medical anthropology, literature and media studies (Becker, 1976; Haraway, 2004; Franklin, 2013; Pilsch, 2017) which recognise the gene as a cultural icon (Nelkin & Lindee, 2004) and problematise post-genomic consumption trends and messaging (Holmes et al., 2016; Takhar & Pemberton, 2018). Advocates of transhumanism believe that spectacular rewards can be reaped from going beyond the natural boundaries that constitute an ordinary human being. They hope that by responsible use of science, technology, and other rational means we shall eventually manage to become posthuman, beings with vastly greater capacities than present human beings have (Bostrom, 2003, 2009; More, 2013).

This super-enhancement of humans through biotechnology, nanotechnologies (Dholakia & Firat, 2019), biohacking (Mallonee, 2017) and synthetic biologies (Franklin, 2007) poses distinct marketing and consumption opportunities (Church & Regis, 2012) and foregrounds ethical dilemmas that this special issue aims to scrutinise through a critical, transdisciplinary lens (Tadajewski, 2010).

By leaning on the theorisation of sociologists, literary scholars, philosophers and scientists, our broad objective is to reinvigorate necessary, cross-disciplinary examination within the marketing field on a topic that requires urgent theorisation. The special issue is international in scope and equally welcomes conceptual and empirical research from marketing researchers, social scientists and scientists. We encourage contributors to submit traditional academic papers, but also encourage other dissemination forms that include essays, videographic work, personal introspections and autoethnographies. Ultimately, we are looking for diversity in terms of content, methodology and the presentation of ideas. Specific topics/areas of enquiry may include the following:

  • How are marketing practices impacted by transhuman ambitions?
  • How have biotechnological innovations been racialised? How can this racialisation be overcome?
  • What can be done to better manage unregulated biotechnologies and practitioners, (CRISPR, Rogue doctors) and ensure consumer protection?
  • How are recent utopian genetic marketing and advertising practices such as Silicon Valley advocacy being apprehended by markets and consumers?
  • How is the global expansion of genetic commercialism creating stratified markets and consumption?
  • Can we regard precision medicine and post-genomic innovations as liberatory consumption?
  • What are the value systems perpetuated through assisted reproductive technologies?
  • How have assisted reproductive markets/consumption contributed to the demise of biological foundationalism?
  • How can consumers make informed choices about new biotechnologies?
  • Is biohacking a form of market resistance or promethean consumption?

Submission Guidelines

Authors are invited to submit a 500-750 word expression of interest to the Special Issue Editors by 31 December 2019. This should describe the core argument and theoretical contribution(s) of the proposed submission. Should you have questions about the suitability of a specific research topic, please contact the Special Issue Editors via jennifer.takhar@isg.fr

Deadline for submission of full manuscripts for review:  20 August 2020

Authors should submit manuscripts of between 8,000–10,000 words (excluding tables, references, captions, footnotes and endnotes). All submissions must strictly follow the guidelines for the Journal of Marketing Management. Manuscripts should be submitted online using the Journal of Marketing Management ScholarOne Manuscripts site (http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rjmm). New users should first create an account. Once a user is logged onto the site submissions should be made via the Author Centre. Authors should prepare and upload two versions of their manuscript. One should be a complete text, while in the second all document information identifying the author should be removed from the files to allow them to be sent anonymously to referees. When uploading files authors will then be able to define the non-anonymous version as “Complete paper with author details”, and the anonymous version as “Main document minus author information”.

To submit your manuscript to the Special Issue choose “Special Issue Article” from the Manuscript Type list when you come to submit your paper. Also, when you come to the ‘Details and Comments’ page, answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘Is this manuscript a candidate for a special issue’ and select the Special Issue Title of Transhumanisms in the text field provided.

Technical queries about submissions can be referred to the Editorial Office.

Journal of Marketing Management

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Guest Editors

Jennifer Takhar, ISG Business School, France

Rika Houston, California State University, Los Angeles, USA

Nikhilesh Dholakia, University of Rhode Island, USA

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Becker, E. (1976). The Denial of Death. New York: Free Press.
Belk, R. (2016). Anthropomorphism and Anthropocentrism, in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 44, eds. Page Moreau and Stefano Puntoni, Duluth, MN: Association for Consumer Research, 42-47.
Bostrom, N. (2003). Human Genetic Enhancements: A Transhumanist Perspective. Journal of Value Inquiry, 37(4), 493–506. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:INQU.0000019037.67783.d5
Bostrom, N., & Savulescu, J. (2009). Human enhancement. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Church, G., & Regis, E. (2012). Regenesis: how synthetic biology will reinvent nature and ourselves. New York: Basic Books.
Castelo, N., Fitz, N., Schmitt, B., and Sarvary, M. (2016). Cyborg Consumers: When Human Enhancement Technologies Are Dehumanizing, in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 44, eds. Page Moreau and Stefano Puntoni, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, 42-47.
Dholakia, N., & Firat, A. (2019). Markets, consumers and society in the age of heteromation. European Journal of Marketing. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-11-2017-0916
Franklin, S. (2007). Dolly Mixtures: The Remaking of Genealogy. North Carolina: Duke University Press.
Franklin, S. (2013). Biological relatives: IVF, stem cells, and the future of kinship. Durham: Duke University Press.
Haraway, D. (2004). The Haraway reader. New York: Routledge.
Holmes, C., Carlson, S., Mcdonald, F., Jones, M., & Graham, J. (2016). Exploring the post-genomic world: differing explanatory and manipulatory functions of post-genomic sciences. New Genetics and Society, 35(1), 49–68. https://doi.org/10.1080/14636778.2015.1133280
Houston, H. (2004). Other mothers: framing the cybernetic construction(s) of the postmodern family. Consumption Markets & Culture, 7(3), 191–209. https://doi.org/10.1080/1025386042000271333
Mallonee, L. (2017, August 6). The DIY Cyborgs Hacking their Bodies for Fun. Wired.                                                                                                              
More, M. (2013). The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future. Somerset: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.
Nelkin, D., & Lindee, M. (2004). The DNA mystique: the gene as a cultural icon. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.
Pilsch, A. (2017). Transhumanism: evolutionary futurism and the human technologies of utopia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Tadajewski, M. (2010). Towards a history of critical marketing studies. Journal of Marketing Management, 26(9-10), 773–824. https://doi.org/10.1080/02672571003668954
Takhar, J., & Pemberton, K. (2018). Reproducing “rhetrickery” in online fertility marketing: harnessing the “rhetoric of the possible.” Consumption Markets & Culture, 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/10253866.2018.1512239