In this article we focus on the cultural mechanisms of market evolution accompanying the marketplace discord between a market actor and a dominant industry. We situate our analysis in the intersection between marketing and institutional theory and engage specifically with the constructs of legitimacy and framing strategies, but also with Chantal Mouffe’s political philosophy concept of agonistics. To better understand the blurry impact of market-driven activism and conflict on the shaping of markets, we use the ongoing “milk-war” between plant- versus animal-based drink producers as backdrop, and empirically explore how a market actor and their supporting institutional actors frame a previously legitimate industry in an attempt to delegitimize it, without sacrificing its consumer market. We find a rhetorical juggling-act of attempted legitimization of the market alternative and delegitimization of the status quo, where the intricacy of framing strategies constitutes what we call conflict framing. In line with the market-critical fundaments of agonistics, this conflict framing can work to (partly) delegitimize the status quo industry and to relegitimize its market at the same time, but cannot radically disrupt the system. Drawing from research predicting a growing absorption of politicized conflict by the market in general, we problematize and critique a potential rise in presence of marketmediated conflict framing. Our insights contribute to ongoing conversations on market evolution, markets for alternatives, ethical consumption and the ideological functioning of markets.
- Företagsekonomi (50202)