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 Research Projects at the MPIfG

Market Formation and Social Movements

Simone Schiller-Merkens

New markets arise out of social construction processes in which variously powerful market members come together to develop a common understanding of what the new market is about and how to do things in it. Social movements can be involved both directly and indirectly in these processes. Indirectly, a new market can be built on the cultural legacy of former movement activities. When ideas that social movements have fought for historically become generally accepted in society, producers can envision new opportunities for a market. Directly, social movement organizations can be active players in the new market and provide cultural, social, and organizational resources for market creation. To gain systematic insights into the direct and indirect roles of social movements in market creation processes, this research project investigates the development of a market for ethical fashion clothing in the United Kingdom and Germany. Empirically, it combines data from ethnographic fieldwork and semi-structured interviews with written material from newspapers, magazines, and market members' websites. Project duration: October 2011 to February 2017.
Schiller-Merkens, Simone, 2013: Framing Moral Markets: The Cultural Legacy of Social Movements in an Emerging Market Category. MPIfG Discussion Paper 13/8. Cologne: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
Schiller-Merkens, S. (2017). Will green remain the new black? Dynamics in the self-categorization of ethical fashion designers. Historical Social Research 1/2017. Forthcoming.
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