Operationalizing Critical Race Theory in the Marketplace

Race is integral to the functioning and ideological underpinnings of marketplace actions yet remains undertheorized in marketing. To understand and transform the insidious ways in which race operates, the authors examine its impact in marketplaces and how these effects are shaped by intersecting forms of systemic oppression. They introduce critical race theory (CRT) to the marketing community as a useful framework for understanding consumers, consumption, and contemporary marketplaces. They outline critical theory traditions as utilized in marketing and specify the particular role of CRT as a lens through which scholars can understand marketplace dynamics. The authors delineate key CRT tenets and how they may shape the way scholars conduct research, teach, and influence practice in the marketing discipline. To clearly highlight CRT’s overall potential as a robust analytical tool in marketplace studies, the authors elaborate on the application of artificial intelligence to consumption markets. This analysis demonstrates how CRT can support an enhanced understanding of the role of race in markets and lead to a more equitable version of the marketplace than what currently exists. Beyond mere procedural modifications, applying CRT to marketplace studies mandates a paradigm shift in how marketplace equity is understood and practiced.


critical race theory, social hierarchy, race, racialization, racism, white supremacy, artificial intelligence 


Sonja Martin Poole, Sonya A. Grier, Kevin D. Thomas, and Francesca Sobande (2021). Operationalizing Critical Race Theory in the Marketplace. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 40(2), Pages 126-142. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0743915620964114



Sonja Martin Poole
Sonya A. Grier
Kevin D. Thomas
Francesca Sobande

Journal of Public Policy & Marketing | 2021


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