Revenants in the Marketplace:A Hauntology of Retrocorporation

James, Sophie and Cronin, James and Patterson, Anthony (2023) Revenants in the Marketplace:A Hauntology of Retrocorporation. Marketing Theory. ISSN 1470-5931 (In Press)

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Drawing upon a cultural-historical reading of the witch, we discuss how modern capitalism is chronically haunted by obstreperous vestiges of what preceded it yet remains proficient in assimilating all that returns to challenge it. By adapting and extending a theoretical toolkit informed by Jacques Derrida and Mark Fisher, we trace market and state administrators’ co-optation of the primeval witch figure and her ideological trappings: initially, to expropriate those who threatened incipient modernising structures; later, to provoke increasingly secularised subjects towards consumption; and eventually, to calibrate rather than obviate capitalist expansion, so that it remains aligned with consumer interests. Introducing the new concepts of ‘retrocorporation’ and ‘marketplace revenant’, we discuss how long-foreclosed, ancient imaginaries become re-invoked and re-programmed to perpetuate capitalism's dominance. Our message for the nascent tradition of ‘Terminal Marketing’ is that the collision and collusion of past and future has the potential to ossify capitalist realism in the present.

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Journal Article
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Marketing Theory
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Deposited On:
25 May 2023 12:15
In Press
Last Modified:
11 Sep 2023 23:54