NEW SSE DISSERTATION
Marketing and consumer research has a long tradition of using gender to explain differences in consumer behavior. In recent decades, a more critical stream of marketing research has emerged to expose the essentializing of gender differences in marketing research and practice. This research has conceptualized gender as a social construction and proposed markets and consumption as important sites for the construction of masculinities and femininities. However, in primarily focusing on consumption and cultural representations, research on gender has left markets and marketing unexplored and undertheorized.
The research agenda proposed in this dissertation calls for detailed studies of a broad range of market practices. Conceptualizing gender as performed in market practice, a conceptual paper highlights the entanglement of gender in material market arrangements, marketing tools and techniques, and the everyday work of various market professionals. Empirically, the dissertation builds on an ethnographic case study of a startup developing and marketing a menstrual cycle tracking app. Tracing the categories of woman and female, and the concept of inclusion, the two empirical papers explore how the company’s evolving understanding of its user base as a highly diverse group of people plays out in various market practices, including fundraising, user research, and product development.