Researching on the Edge: Emancipatory Praxis for Social Justice

Martina Hutton, Teresa Heath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - To provoke a conversation in marketing scholarship about the overlooked political nature of doing research, particularly for those who research issues of social (in)justice. We suggest a paradigmatic shift in how researchers might view and operationalise social justice work in marketing. Our emancipatory praxis framework offers scholars an alternative way to think about the methodology, design and politics of researching issues of social relevance.

Design/methodology/approach - This is a conceptual paper drawing on critical theory to argue for a new methodological shift towards emancipatory praxis.

Findings – As social justice research involves a dialectical relationship between crises and critique, the concept of emancipation acts as a methodological catalyst for furthering debate about social (in)justice in marketing. We identify a set of methodological troubles and challenges that may disrupt the boundaries of our knowledge making. We outline a set of methodological responses to these issues, illustrating how emancipatory research facilitates social action.

Research limitations/implications – Emancipatory praxis offers marketing scholars an alternative methodological direction in the hope that more impactful and useful ways of knowing can emerge.

Practical implications – The paper is intended to change the ways that researchers work in practical and concrete terms on issues of social (in)justice.

Social implications – While this paper is theoretical, it argues for an alternative methodological approach to research that reorients researchers towards a politicised praxis with emancipatory relevancy.

Originality/value – Emancipatory praxis offers a new, openly politicised methodological alternative for addressing problems of social relevance in marketing. As a continuous political and emancipatory task for researchers, social justice research involves empirical encounters with politics, advocacy and democratic participation, where equality is the methodological starting point for research design and decisions as much as it is the end goal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2697-2721
Number of pages25
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2020

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