Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 329–336 | Cite as

Literary criticism and the history of marketing thought: A new perspective on “reading” marketing theory

  • Barbara B. Stern


This paper proposes the addition of concepts drawn from literary criticism to philosophical and historical ones in order to provide insights into “reading” marketing theory. The paper sets forth three modes of literary criticism applicable to the analysis of marketing theory—psychobiographical, editorial, and structural. It offers as an illustrative example a reading of the history of Ernest Dichter's motivation research movement using these methods. The addition of literary analysis demonstrates how textual clues can enrich the historian's study of the rise and fall of marketing phenomena over time.


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara B. Stern
    • 1
  1. 1.Rutgers, The State University of New JerseyUSA

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