Kafkaesque institutions at the base of the pyramid

Apoorv Khare, Rohit Varman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Impelled by neo-liberal ideology, base-of-the-pyramid (BOP) and subsistence market discourses have put emphases on markets, profits and entrepreneurialism. Because of this ideological mooring, there is a marginal understanding of the role of the State and its impact on the poor in these discourses. Franz Kafka’s work provides a critical perspective on the role of the State in BOP or subsistence settings. This ethnographic study in India examines transactions related to land and highlights the Kafkaesque nature of the State. The institutional setting is fraught with Kafkaesque elements such as inaccessible and indecipherable legality, abusive power relations and alienation of subaltern subjects. It further shows that the illicit character of the State is an important reason for illegal practices in subaltern settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1619-1646
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Marketing Management
Issue number17-18
Early online date11 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2016


  • base of the pyramid
  • illegality
  • institutional context
  • Kafka
  • State
  • Subaltern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Kafkaesque institutions at the base of the pyramid'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this