Marketing and Modernity

Marketing and Modernity: An Ethnography of Marketing Practice

by Marianne Elisabeth Lien

Marianne E. Lien Associate Professor in Social Anthropology,University of Oslo. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Berg, 1997
  • DOI:
  • ISBN:
    978-1-3500-4487-6 (online)

    978-1-8597-3991-4 (hardback)

    978-1-8597-3996-9 (paperback)

    978-1-8452-0918-6 (epdf)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
  • Published Online:
Marketing and Modernity
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What 200 products can be made from a dead chicken? What should turkey really taste like? How can you make a ready-made meal appear less manufactured? How do you market a “folk-pizza”? This fascinating and entertaining book examines the strategies and struggles of the young professionals who are responsible for marketing a variety of ready-made food products for a major Norwegian food manufacturer. This setting provides the empirical focus for the analysis of the key tensions and contradictions which are to be found in modernity. Through a detailed description of “everyday-life” in the marketing department, the book critically examines many of the features which are believed to characterise modernity, such as authenticity, ambivalence and the quest for order. The setting also allows the author to explore key economic terms such as “the market”, “product”, “brand” and “consumer”. Drawing on comparative material, the author suggests that modernity may be characterized, not so much by an effort at making order, but rather by specific ways of dealing with ambivalence, and demonstrates that features generally associated with modernity may not be so modern after all.