Subalterns, empowerment and the failed imagination of markets

Apoorv Khare, Rohit Varman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In our earlier paper, we drew upon Franz Kafka’s literary writings to attend to the repressive sides of the State and markets and their impact on subaltern positions. Moreover, we pointed to some of the key limitations in the theories of the base of the pyramid and subsistence marketplace. In this paper, responding to the commentaries, we clarify some doubts, provide correctives to misinterpretations and further develop the broad theoretical argument we made in our earlier paper. In response to Viswanathan’s commentary, we specifically clarify the role of neoliberal ideology as it impels discourse of subsistence markets. Moreover, as a corrective to Karnani’s reading, we explain the limitations of the State, markets and private enterprises in alleviating poverty in India. Through these clarifications, we ask scholars to attend to systemic features of the current political economy that create poverty and call for an imagination beyond the current capitalist zeitgeist to empower the subaltern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1593-1602
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Marketing Management
Issue number17-18
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2017


  • Base of the pyramid
  • ideology
  • neoliberalism
  • poverty
  • subaltern
  • subsistence marketplaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Subalterns, empowerment and the failed imagination of markets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this