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Framing moral markets: The cultural legacy of social movements in an emerging market category

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  • Schiller-Merkens, Simone
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    Abstract

    One challenge facing research on categories is to explain their content and the extent to which they gain meaning from cultural material that originates from moral arenas. This article suggests that categories are an outcome of strategic framing activities by which market members draw on prevalent master frames as cultural material to infuse an emerging market with meaning. It depicts the construction of a market category that emerges at the boundary between the economic sphere of a market and the moral sphere of social movements. A qualitative study of the use of movement master frames in categorizing the market for ethical fashion in the United Kingdom indicates the important role of movements' cultural legacy for the categorization of a moral market. It shows that the master frame of the environmental movement prevails in market categorization. Furthermore, we see that market members tend to adopt movement frames in categorization to discuss solutions rather than to talk about problems. Two propositions are drawn from these findings. First, when market making happens at the boundary of several social movements, market members adopt the master frame mainly of the movement whose activism has already led to changes in the political agenda, in social beliefs and practices in society. Second, framing tactics change when movement frames leave the moral sphere of activist mobilization and enter the economic sphere. While talking about problems has been shown to be as important as the provision of solutions in the movement arena, providing solutions becomes more important when movement frames are adopted in the economic arena of a market. -- Kategorien sind zentrale Bestandteile der kulturellen Strukturierung von Märkten. Eine der Herausforderungen der Kategorienforschung ist es, die Inhalte von Kategorien zu erklären und herauszufinden, wie stark sie durch moralisch geprägte kulturelle Elemente beeinflusst werden. Das Papier stellt Kategorien als Ergebnis strategischer Rahmungsprozesse (framing) vor, wobei Marktakteure einem entstehenden Markt anhand verbreiteter kultureller Deutungsmuster (master frames) Bedeutung verleihen. Es beschreibt die Konstruktion einer Marktkategorie, die an der Grenze zwischen der ökonomischen Sphäre eines Marktes und der moralischen Sphäre sozialer Bewegungen entsteht. Die am Beispiel des Marktes für ethische Mode in Großbritannien durchgeführte qualitative Untersuchung stellt heraus, wie wichtig das kulturelle Vermächtnis sozialer Bewegungen für die Kategorisierung eines moralisch geprägten Marktes ist. Die Ergebnisse der Untersuchung zeigen einerseits die herausgehobene Bedeutung der Umweltbewegung für die Kategorisierung des Marktes. Sie zeigen andererseits die Tendenz der Marktakteure zu einer eher lösungs-denn problemorientierten Rahmungsaktivität: Die Deutungsrahmen sozialer Bewegungen werden zur Kategorisierung herangezogen, um Lösungsansätze zu diskutieren, weniger jedoch, um die zugrunde liegenden Probleme zu benennen. Aus diesen Ergebnissen werden schließlich zwei Thesen abgeleitet. Erstens: Entstehen neue Märkte an der Grenze zu mehreren sozialen Bewegungen, so übernehmen Marktakteure eher den Deutungsrahmen jener Bewegung, deren Aktivismus die politische Agenda, gesellschaftliche Überzeugungen und Praktiken bereits nachhaltig verändert hat. Zweitens: Die Rahmungstaktiken ändern sich mit dem Wechsel der Bewegungsrahmen von der moralischen Sphäre aktivistischer Mobilisierung in die ökonomische Sphäre. Während zur Mobilisierung von Aktivisten die Problemdiskussion als gleichbedeutend mit der Entwicklung von Lösungsansätzen gewertet wird, gewinnt die Präsentation von Lösungen an Bedeutung, sobald die Bewegungsrahmen in den ökonomischen Bereich eines Marktes übertragen werden.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Discussion Paper with number 13/8.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:138

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    1. Beckert, Jens, 2007. "The social order of markets," MPIfG Discussion Paper 07/15, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
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