How Alternative is Alternative? The Role of Entrepreneurial Development, Form, and Function in the Emergence of Alternative Marketscapes
Friday, December 18, 2020 01:45 PM

Editors: Matthew Mars and Hope Schau, The University of Arizona

There is growing popular press interest in and emerging scholarly attention to alternative markets. While alternative markets are not clearly defined, the content under the broad “alternative” label centers on markets outside the mainstream. The outsider status of alternative markets range from benign substitution to radical ideological opposition. Often the alternative market is formed from entrepreneurial innovation. If successful these entrepreneurial innovations may become radical market disruptions, e.g., Uber as a substitute for both taxi services and personal transportation and Airbnb as an alternative to hotel accommodations. 

Entrepreneurial ventures are widely understood to emerge from novel ideas and strategies for creating value through the disruption of the status quo (Schumpeter, 1934). Entrepreneurial ventures often begin within local contexts, but with a longing eye toward expansion into and relevancy among global-scale markets (Kuemmerle, 2005). Yet, the market structure implications of entrepreneurial firms being or aspiring to be positioned in a globalized context include, among others, widespread homogenization and uniformity via mass production and consumption models (de Burgh-Woodman, 2014; Wensely, 2010). In other words, the scaling of entrepreneurial ventures to align with and compete within mainstream, globally oriented markets promotes integration and conformity over disruption and change. 

There is a large and growing body of literature that examines various models and initiatives for bringing greater diversity and heterogeneity to global market structures. Examples of the topical foci of this literature include consumer-led interventions that challenge mainstream practices (e.g., Gollnhofer, Weijo, and Schouten, 2019; Kjeldgaard, et al., 2017; Kozinets and Handelman, 2004; Weijo, Martin, and Arnould, 2018) and industry-driven innovations such as the expansion of online market channels that further embed the local in the global (Lewis & Cockrill, 2002; Mazzarol, 2015). There is also a robust literature on counter-movements that aim to displace rather than transform global market structures. The most prominent of such movements is that which promotes the complete localization of both production and consumption (Ciuchta & O’Toole, 2018; Kurland & McCaffrey, 2016).

The current call seeks manuscripts that align more with the latter of the two aforesaid contexts – specifically, the entrepreneurial development of alternative marketscapes that are envisaged and designed to operate outside of otherwise dominant global market structures and in doing so create, or at least aim to create, spaces in which elements such as autonomy, creativity, diversity, equity, non-conformity, and sustainability can thrive. The literature on such marketscapes privileges the philosophical contentions and theoretical underpinnings of guiding movements, as well as empirical demonstrations of the efficaciousness (or lack thereof) of the models and strategies associated with their development (Ciuchta & O’Toole, 2018; Kurland & McCaffrey, 2016; Mars and Schau, 2017, 2018, 2019). Absent in this literature is a cross-disciplinary interrogation of the actual physical and social structures and functionalities that characterize alternative marketscapes. Given our focus on diversity over
homogeneity, we encourage submissions from all academic fields and methodological traditions. Likewise, the meaning and recognition of alternative marketscapes is open to a wide range of interpretations. The types of questions we aim to raise and address in the volume include, but will not be limited to:

1) What constitutes alternative markets? How do alternative markets emerge?

2) How can alternative marketspaces be described in terms of fluidity versus rigidity?

3) How alternative are alternative marketspaces both in form and function?

4) How do alternative marketspaces function as diverse platforms versus alternative, yet primarily homogenous platforms? 

5) How is entrepreneurial activism enacted, if at all, within the structures of alternative marketspaces?

6) How, if at all, does the form and function of alternative marketspaces reflect historical, pre-industrialization market models?

7) How do alternative marketspaces vary in form and function across common fields and movements?

8) How do alternative marketspaces foster surprising amalgamations of otherwise disparate fields and sectors?

9) How do alternative marketspaces reflect and feed rather than counter dominant global market structures?

Submissions should not exceed 10,000 words including references, tables, and figures. Manuscripts will be subject to double-blind peer review. Authors are encouraged to suggest up to three potential reviewers to include affiliations and contact information upon submission.

Submissions should be sent as a Word document to Dr. Matthew Mars at [email protected]. The deadline for submission in July 31, 2021. Inquiries should also be directed to Dr. Mars.