IIMA - Course Catalogue
Manipulation, Myth-Making and Marketing
Public Systems Group
Prof. Navdeep Mathur
Course Description & Objectives
This course explores how the public sphere is shaped through the discourses, practices and strategies constituting the different elements of marketing as a social activity that includes but is not limited to the transaction of goods and services alone. The leading text on marketing management (Kotler, Keller, Koshy, and Jha 2013) articulates marketing as a “societal process” in which groups and individuals engage with each other to create and offer goods and services through communicative practices whereby they identify needs, wants and value. These leading authors identify the specific subjects of marketing as goods, services and “…events, experiences, persons, places, properties, organisations, information and ideas” on an equal footing (2013: 5).
These subjects represent a total perspective on how societal life is lived in the public sphere, with implications for life systems that are public in nature. To put it summarily, public systems can be said to be constituted by several elements that are part of this marketing worldview where decisions are made about the targeting/segmenting populations, identifying and valuing needs and wants, delivering goods and services, designing communications and disseminating information etc. These elements are an on-going political enactment of myths and storytelling that narrate the relationship between society, economy and the public.
A set of myths held together by an organizing storyline or metaphor constitute the mythologies through which actors in public space make sense of the world and thereby act on it as well as engage in creating it with others. The term myth is used here as a reference to systems of belief,espoused by social groups in furthering their worldviews. Manipulation refers to the means of achieving social goals through seeking transformations in worldviews, perspectives and values of groups and individuals.
The key objective of this course is to observe and analyse concrete processes and projects linking manipulation, myth-making and marketing in their implications for public life specifically encompassing themes of gender, public health, war and social violence, media and advertising, luxury, democracy and natural resources, mobility, and the environment. It focuses on the concrete potential of these three linked Ms towards crafting public welfare.
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