Virginia MwangiPhD student
Research:I am committed to research that addresses the negative externalities of consumption and the marketplace. My research interests lie in the broad areas of morality/ethics/deviance in the marketplace, social representations theory, and bottom of the pyramid/subsistence markets. My empirical research focuses on macro level phenomena such as market conflicts, morality, legitimacy, social change and media and marketing.
My doctoral thesis is titled “Social representations of marketplace immorality: The case of illicit alcohol in Kenya”. The research is fully funded by Lancaster University Management School.
The research is premised on the view that the marketplace has the potential to address social problems or to perpetrate them. A broad range of environmental and social problems such as ecological degradation, social and economic inequality, animal cruelty and mental and physical illness have been attributed to contemporary marketplaces. Conversely, marketplace initiatives such as fair-trade and others that address unfair labour practices such as fair labour organization have been instrumental in addressing poverty and injustice in the developing world and improving the welfare of producers and labourers. The marketplace can therefore be a force for good, contributing to collective well-being, or a source of harm and a threat to well-being. All the market actors contribute to good and bad market outcomes. Immorality in my study is conceptualised as actions that endanger individual, societal or ecological well-being in the pursuit of self- interest in the marketplace.