Towards a reflexive turn: Social marketing assemblages

Ross Gordon*, Lauren Gurrieri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this article is to demonstrate why the time is ripe for a reflexive turn in social marketing, in response to criticisms of social marketing as neo-liberal, positivist and lacking critical introspection.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper traces the development of three paradigms in the field, highlighting the entrenchment of a traditionalist paradigm that heretofore has stifled critical debate and reflexive practice. However, the emergence of social ecologist and critical social marketing paradigms has stimulated the imperative for a reflexive turn. Insights into reflexivity, its relevance and applicability for researchers, participants and other stakeholders in social marketing are considered.

Findings: The paper offers a conceptualisation of social marketing assemblages using the lens of actor-network theory and identifies how this can stimulate engagement and reflexive practice for researchers, participants and other stakeholders (such as non-governmental organisations and Government departments involved in delivering programmes).

Originality/value: The article presents relevant theoretical and practical benefits from a reflexive turn in social marketing, highlighting how this will furthermore contribute to discipline building.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-278
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social Marketing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2014


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