The fourth hermeneutic in marketing theory



Publication Details

Lowe, S., Thomas, M. & Carr, A. N. 2005, 'The fourth hermeneutic in marketing theory', Marketing Theory: an international review, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 185-203.


Murray and Ozanne (1991) provided evidence of paradigmatic approaches in market and consumer research by classifying the field into Positivism, Interpretivism and Critical Theory. We discuss these approaches and celebrate their contribution. We posit, however, that paradigms are symptomatic of an epistemological trap that privileges knowledge to the detriment of other vital virtues. We propose to employ Capra's triadic concept (Capra, 1997) to develop the notion of 'paradigmapping' and demonstrate that this concept can be employed to transcend incommensurability in the field of marketing. We also propose to supplement Alvesson and Skoldberg's (2000) 'triple' hermeneutics of individual reflection, social construction and critical theory with a healthier balance between knowledge and other virtues. We posit a relativist position where we clearly wish to argue the case for considering marketing's potential as a moral art rather than the amoral science we submit it has become.

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