Blame work and the scapegoating mechanism in market status-quo

Hélène Cherrier, Meltem Türe

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This study explores the tenacity of the plastics market and reveals blame work to explain market status quo. Antiplastic advocates accuse corporations and regulators of inefficient measures deployed to control the omnipresence, hazardous effects, and indestructability of plastic. Regulators focus on single-use plastic and recycling to mitigate the omnipresence of plastic and delegate responsibility to other actors for its hazardous effects and indestructability. Plastic producers and distributors avoid blame by developing alternatives to single-use plastic. Consumers locally and sporadically blame policy makers and corporations for plastic problems but lack resources and social organization to effect broad changes in the market. From all these dynamics of blame emerges a scapegoat: consumers accepting responsibility for plastic problems. Dynamics of blame help maintain boundaries of power and interest and contribute to consumer responsibilization, reinforce power imbalances, hinder collaboration among actors with different interests in plastic, and, as such, help maintain market status quo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1207–1217
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date26 Feb 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Feb 2022


  • Plastic
  • Scapegoat
  • Institutional work
  • Blame
  • Responsibility
  • Market status quo

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