Track 1.4: Expanding Our Understanding of Inclusion and (its pesky shadow) Exclusion: How Inclusion and Exclusion Impact and are Impacted By Consumers, Marketplaces, and Markets

Human resources, advertisers, educators, and legislators are extolling the virtues of an inclusive work/organization/brand/curriculum/law environment. Inclusion and inclusivity are used interchangeably to refer to the “practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those having physical or mental disabilities or belonging to other minority groups (OED 2015).” Inclusion cannot exist without the concept of exclusion: “the restriction of a particular person, group, or area,” or “the practice of not admitting other things (OED 2015).” Inclusion plays a particularly important role in marketing and consumer behavior. A recent special issue on marketplace exclusion in Consumption Markets and Culture highlights one of those important vectors. In addition to the presence of marketplace practices that are intentionally or unintentionally exclusive, consumers feel either included or excluded depending on social status or ableism (Adkins and Ozanne 2005). Finally, market systems writ large may also foster conditions of inclusion and exclusion. For example, at a recent marketing conference, the food was delivered “buffet style” which is impossible to navigate if someone is unable to walk without assistance. The conference industry seems to be stuck in the past when it comes to many forms of inclusion.


Inclusion/Exclusion (hereafter, IE) is researched in many disciplines including sociology, global studies, education, psychology, urban studies, and architecture. Marketing has been slow to turn its attention to issues of IE. Indeed, the editors of a special issue on marketplace exclusion stated that “this concept has had very little attention to date within the field of marketing and consumer research (Saren, Parsons, and Goulding 2017, 476).” They include seven excellent articles that begin to fill this gap. For example, Miller and Stovall’s paper on the “right to consume” adroitly states inclusion and exclusion are inextricably linked: 


"the contradictions between consumer society and uneven development play out across society, such that even the poor are compelled to participate in non-necessary consumerist performances or else face the threat of being humiliated as “failed consumers” (56). Bauman goes so far as to claim that consumer culture offers a new kind of inclusion and even sovereignty, whereas failure to perform and gain “consumerist competence” (64) results in a kind of exclusion that signifies much more than low status." (Miller and Stovall 2019, 571).


Saatcioglu and Ozanne (2013, 32) state that “marketplace inclusion involves access to and fair treatment within the market” and that consumers must “fight against exclusion.” They apply critical spatial theory to show how physical, virtual, and lived spaces can serve to perpetuate exclusion but can also be used to emancipate spaces. Both articles focus primarily on “physical” IE within marketplaces (malls, restaurants, certain city and suburban spaces) yet call on marketing scholars to broaden the conceptual landscape. For example, Corus and Ozanne (2012) propose a deliberative democratic theory as a conceptual and guiding framework for inclusive stakeholder engagement and discuss four distinct deliberative methods for increasing participation in corporate and government policymaking in subsistence markets. 


Of course, there is an explosion of work on inclusion related to diversity and equity (hereafter, DEI), particularly in business schools (Harvard Business Publishing Education 2022). Recently, Arsel, Crockett, and Scott (2022) curated relevant articles from Journal of Consumer Research that informed our understanding of DEI as it relates to consumers. They defined inclusion as “creating a culture that fosters belonging and incorporation of diverse groups and is usually operationalized as opposition to exclusion or marginalization (3).” In sum, these articles, initiatives, and special issues come to the same conclusion: IE is important, timely, and underserved within marketing.
Previous TCR tracks focused on adjacent topics such as 1) consumer acculturation to local market cultures (Jafari and Visconti 2013); 2) financial vulnerability (O’Connor, Newmeyer, and Wong 2017; Mende and Scott 2017); 3) displacement of refugees (Fisk, Kabadayi, and Boenigk 2019); 4) crises of multiculturalism (Pullig, Kipnis, and Demangeot 2017); 5) intersectionality and gender-based injustices (Steinfield, Coleman, and Tuncay-Zayer 2017); 6) impoverished consumers (Blocker and Hill 2021); and 7) hard to reach populations (Steinfield and Holt 2021). In 2017, a track was dedicated to IE of public space and place (Kay and Costilhos 2017). Other concepts related to IE are: stigma, ableism, acculturation, discrimination, engagement, coping strategies, self-esteem, and legitimation.


Methodological diversity figures prominently in IE. Marketing scholars study “social exclusion” using surveys and experimental design (Wan, Xu, and Ding 2014; Sinha and Lu 2019). Qualitative methodology is also employed (Adkins and Ozanne 2005; Ahlberg 2019; Kearney, Brittain and Kipnis 2019). Several articles provide important conceptual discussions (Miller and Stovall 2019; Saatcioglu and Ozanne 2013), and some employ empirical modeling (Dennis et al. 2017). We encourage any relevant stakeholders to join us. Our vision for this track is that it will be interdisciplinary and inclusive of all perspectives. We also propose to bring together the various threads that exist in the unconnected corners of the marketing discipline. This connective tissue will give academics interested in IE the guidance to proceed with new research by providing a strong picture of how it has previously been defined, measured, and applied. Our output will be a manuscript that is not merely conceptual but also provides scholars a roadmap in the vein of other TCR articles (Prothero et al. 2011). We will then set forth a framework and agenda for future research.


Brainstorming IE as it relates to consumers, marketplaces, and markets

Consumer Inclusion

  • Viable segments
  • Well-resourced
  • Well-connected
  • Able
  • Experienced

Consumer Exclusion

  • Disabled (Kearney, Brittain, and Kipnis 2019)
  • Ex-felons 
  • Geographically isolated (Wang and Tian 2014)
  • Low income 
  • Illiterate (Adkins and Ozanne 2005)
  • Not “normative”, “unconventional” (Gurrieri, Previte, and Brace-Govan 2013)


Marketplace (where transactions occur) Inclusion

  • Global
  • Multinational
  • Unrestricted
  • Unregulated
  • Culturally monolithic

Marketplace (where transactions occur) Exclusion

  • Highly regulated
  • Small
  • Local
  • Poorly resourced
  • Culturally different (Weinberger 2015)


Markets (market as a whole) Inclusion

  • Legitimate
  • Well-connected to power
  • Well resourced
  • Accepted products and services

Markets (market as a whole) Exclusion

  • Illegitimate 
  • Illegal 
  • Private
  • Small
  • Low access to power (Arnould and Press 2019; Corus and Ozanne 2012)
  • Fringe interests (Gurrieri and Cherrier 2013)
  • Stigmatized (Sandıkcı and Ger 2009)


Pre-Conference Activities

  • Knowledge Sharing: The track chairs have already amassed an extensive database of articles from marketing and other disciplines. They will create a Microsoft Teams site to be used as a clearinghouse for these and all other materials. Once the track participants have been chosen, they will have immediate access to this curation. 
  • Knowledge Expansion: Participants will contribute to the extant collection by way of academic and non-academic articles, podcasts, popular press articles, relevant websites and any other relevant sources of information. Participants will also share any Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, or Facebook groups or individuals who are focused on the issues of IE so that all participants can begin to monitor these feeds.
  • Team Building: The track chairs will schedule regular bi-weekly meetings with participants to foster connections among team members before the conference. These bi-weekly meetings will be voluntary and will be scheduled at various times and days in order to accommodate as many scholars as possible. These meetings will be facilitated by one of the track chairs and may include discussions of issues, writing support, initial outlining of relevant topics, or merely a space to casually connect with other participants. 
  • Exemplars of IE: Participants will be encouraged to share personal examples of IE with the group. This sharing can take the form of introspection, either written or recorded audio or video. Participants will also curate examples from popular culture (tv, movies, docuseries, etc.), or artistic representations (paintings, plays, dance, sculpture). All examples will be uploaded to a folder on Microsoft Teams.


September 2022

  • Track Chairs create Microsoft Team site
  • Track Chairs create folder and communication structures on Teams
  • Track Chairs add all relevant materials to Teams


January 2023

  • Participants are chosen
  • Participants will be added to Microsoft Teams
  • Participants begin to add relevant materials to Teams site
  • Biweekly meetings will be scheduled 


Februrary 2023

  • Preliminary overviews of key articles from various disciplines will be initiated by participants


April 2023

  • Overviews will be shared among participants for community comment


May 2023

  • Plan in-person activities


Tentative Conference Activities

  • Day 1
    • Morning: Introspections will be shared in person to build trust and rapport. Individuals or small groups will then present the key articles they reviewed from relevant disciplines before the conference to bring everyone up to speed on how IE is dealt with in other areas. 
    • Afternoon: Participants will begin synthesizing the interdisciplinary concepts into a meta-model of IE. Participants will then begin to flesh out how IE specifically impacts and is impacted by consumers, marketplaces, and markets. This discussion will include connecting to previous literature in our field. These discussions will enable us to create a poster for the afternoon poster session.
  • Day 2
    • Morning: Participants will split into two groups and work on the broad outline for two papers: 1) a conceptual overview, and 2) an empirical paper.
    • Afternoon: Finish up any activities pertaining to the in-person phase of the project; create an action plan, timeline, and work schedule that will successfully move these projects through to completion


For queries related to this track please email: Susan Dobscha,

To apply to this track, please email a Research Vision to Susan Dobscha,


Adkins, Natalie. R., and Ozanne Julie L. (2005), “The low literate consumer,” Journal of Consumer Research, 32(1): 93-105.

Ahlberg, Oscar, and Mattias Hjelm (2022), “Where did they go?: An explorative study on the marketplace absence of elderly consumers”, paper presented at the Consumer Culture Theory Conference, Corvallis, Oregon.
Arnould, Eric, and Melea Press (2019), “Systemic small-player market exclusion in an east African context,” Consumption Markets and Culture, 22(5-6), 508-27.
Arsel, Zeynep, David Crockett, and Maura L Scott (2022), “Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the Journal of Consumer Research: A curation and research agenda,” Journal of consumer research, 48(5): 920-33.
Blocker, Chris, and Ronald Paul Hill (2021), “Transdisciplinary Perspectives of Impoverished Consumers,” in Transformative Consumer Research Conference 2021, June 28 – 29, ed. David Mick and Rick Netemeyer.
Corus, Canan, and Ozanne Julie L. (2012), “Stakeholder engagement: Building participatory and deliberative spaces in subsistence markets,” Journal of Business Research, 65(12), 1728-735.
Dennis, Charles, Michael Bourlakis, Eleftherios Alamanos, Savvas Papagiannidis and J. Joško Brakus (2017), “Value Co-Creation Through Multiple Shopping Channels: The Interconnections with Social Exclusion and Well-Being”, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 21(4), 517-47.
Exclusion, noun. Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford UP, 2015.  
Fisk, Raymond P., Sertan Kabadayi, and Silke Boenigk (2019), “Refugee Crisis and the Role of Transformative Services,” in Transformative Consumer Research Dialogical Conference 2019, May 19-21, Ed. Martin Mende and Maura L. Scott, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.
Gurrieri, Lauren, Josephine Previte, and Jan Brace-Govan (2013), “Women’s bodies as sites of control: Inadvertent stigma and exclusion in social marketing,” Journal of Macromarketing, 33(2), 128-43.
Gurrieri, Lauren, and Hélène Cherrier (2013), “Queering beauty: fatshionistas in the fatosphere”, Qualitative Market Research, 16(3), 276-95.
Harvard Business Publishing Education. “How Business Schools Are Really Doing with Diversity”. Last Accessed July 30, 2022.
Inclusion, noun. Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford UP, 2015.
Jafari, Aliakbar, and Luca M. Visconti (2013), “Immigration, Culture, and Ethnicity,” in Transformative Consumer Research Dialogical Conference 2013, May 24-25, ed. Nil Özçaglar-Toulouse and Jim Burroughs, SKEMA Business School, Lille, France.
Kay, Mark J., and Rodrigo B. Costilhos (2017), “Consuming Space: How to Foster Pro-social Transformations?” in Transformative Consumer Research Dialogical Conference 2017, June 18-20, ed. Brennan Davis, Julie Ozanne, Stijn Van Osselaer. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Kearney Shauna, Ian Brittain, and Eva Kipnis (2019), “Superdisabilities” vs “disabilities”? Theorizing the role of ableism in (mis)representational mythology of disability in the marketplace,” Consumption Markets and Culture, 22(5-6), 545-67.
Mende, Martin, and Maura L. Scott (2017), “Exploring New Ways How Financial Service Organizations Can Improve the Financial Well-Being of Vulnerable Consumers,” in Transformative Consumer Research Dialogical Conference 2017, June 18-20, ed. Brennan Davis, Julie Ozanne, Stijn Van Osselaer. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Miller, Jacob C., and Stovall Tony (2019), “The “right to consume”? Re-thinking the dynamics of exclusion/inclusion in consumer society.” Consumption Markets and Culture, 22(5-6), 568-81.
O’Connor, Genevieve, Casey Newmeyer, and Nancy Wong (2017), “Exploring Consumer Financial Vulnerability as a Critical Turning Point in Consumer Well-Being.” in Transformative Consumer Research Dialogical Conference 2017, June 18-20, ed. Brennan Davis, Julie Ozanne, Stijn Van Osselaer. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Prothero, Andrea, Susan Dobscha, Jim Freund, William E. Kilbourne, Michael G. Luchs, Lucie K. Ozanne, and John Thøgersen (2011), “Sustainable Consumption: Opportunities for Consumer Research and Public Policy.” Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 30(1), 31–8.
Pullig, Chris, Eva Kipnis, and Catherine Demangeot (2017), “Healing Multiculturalism: Challenges, Tensions and Opportunities.” in Transformative Consumer Research Dialogical Conference 2017, June 18-20, ed. Brennan Davis, Julie Ozanne, Stijn Van Osselaer. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Saatcioglu, Bige, and Julie L. Ozanne (2013), “A critical spatial approach to marketplace exclusion and inclusion.” Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 32(1_suppl), 32-7.
Sandikci, Özlem, and Güliz Ger (2010), “Veiling in style: how does a stigmatized practice become fashionable?” Journal of consumer research, 37(1), 15-36.
Saren, Michael, Elizabeth Parsons, and Christina Goulding (2019), “Dimensions of marketplace exclusion: representations, resistances and responses.” Consumption Markets and Culture 22(5-6), 475-85.
Sinha, Jayati, and Fang-Chi Lu (2019), “Ignored or rejected: Retail exclusion effects on construal levels and consumer responses to compensation.” Journal of Consumer Research, 46(4), 791-807.
Steinfield, Laurel, Catherine Coleman, and Linda Tuncay Zayer (2017), “Mapping out a Transformative Consumer Research Agenda for Gender and Intersectionalities.” in Transformative Consumer Research Dialogical Conference 2017, June 18-20, ed. Brennan Davis, Julie Ozanne, Stijn Van Osselaer. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Steinfield, Laurel, and Diane Holt (2021), “Developing Transformative Consumer Research Methods and Engagements for Hard-to-Reach Populations.” in Transformative Consumer Research Conference 2021, June 28 – 29, ed. David Mick and Rick Netemeyer.
Wan, Echo Wen, Jing Xu and Ying Ding (2014), “To be or not to be unique? The effect of social exclusion on consumer choice.” Journal Of Consumer Research 40(6), 1109-122.
Wang, Jeff Jianfeng, and Qian Tian. (2014), “Consumer Vulnerability and Marketplace Exclusion: A Case of Rural Migrants and Financial Services in China.” Journal of Macromarketing. 34(1), 45-56.
Weinberger, Michelle F. (2015), “Dominant consumption rituals and intragroup boundary work: How non-celebrants manage conflicting relational and identity goals.” Journal of Consumer Research, 42(3), 378-400.


Track Chair Bios

Susan Dobscha is Professor of Marketing at Bentley University in Waltham, MA. She received a BBA in marketing and MBA in strategic management from the University of New Mexico and her Ph.D. in marketing from Virginia Tech. Her research has appeared in such publications as Harvard Business Review, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, and Journal of Marketing Management. She edited two books: Death in A Consumer Culture and Handbook of Research in Gender and Marketing. Her research focuses on sustainability, gender, death, and transformative leadership. She has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Fast Company Magazine, Quartz Magazine, and has been an invited guest on podcasts for Business Insider, Better Business Bureau, Amplify, NPR Online, and Voice of America.

Elena Elkanova is a Ph.D. student at Bentley University. She is interested in social and marketplace exclusion, national identity, and place branding. Prior to a Ph.D. program, she taught at the Higher School of Economics (St Petersburg, Russia). She has a co-authored paper in the Journal of Product and Brand Management. She is currently working with her advisor Dr. Dobscha on a project about stakeholder exclusion in the cannabis industry.


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