The social thickening of market futures: exploring the discursive work of drone visioneers

Domen Bajde*, Mikkel Nøjgaard, Alev Pinar Kuruoglu

*Corresponding author for this work

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In this paper, we theorize the “social thickening” of market futures—the process through which imagined market futures take on social and moral significance and gel into shared visions of desirable social futures. Market studies have produced valuable insights into the role of representations and expectations in the constitution of future markets. However, extant research has been primarily concerned with the ways in which narratives of future markets affect the predictive and calculative capacities of market actors faced with uncertainty. In contrast, this paper draws attention to the social and normative aspects of discursive market future-making. Inspired by work on socio-technical imaginaries (STIs) and visioneering, we investigate how market visioneers such as consultancies, focal industry players, and mainstream media contribute to the “social thickening” of market futures in the context of commercial drones. Based on a qualitative analysis of a corpus of texts (consultancy reports, news media articles, and promotional videos), we uncover four discursive techniques of visioneering through which market futures are socially thickened: presencing, prospecting, problematizing, and entwining futures. Our study extends current theorizing of discursive market making and opens avenues for future research of market visioneering.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMarketing Theory
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)311-332
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

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  • discourse
  • expectations
  • imaginaries
  • market futures
  • market shaping
  • market visioneering
  • visions


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