From Marketing to Market Practices: Assembling the Ruin Bars of Budapest
This source preferred by Peter Erdelyi
Authors: Erdélyi, P. and Lugosi, P.
Start date: 25 February 2009
In this paper we turn our attention to the classical marketing problems of product/service launch and development, by examining the emergence of the so-called ‘ruin bars’ in Budapest between 1999 and 2009. Traditionally the marketing discipline has been content with adopting the abstract notion of the market from neoclassical economics and restricting itself to operations that concern the marketing of products into that abstract space, such as segmentation, positioning and targeting. Heeding recent calls for a practice turn in marketing theory, we abandon the abstract notion of the market in favour of an empirical description that does not make an a priori distinction between marketing practices and market-making practices. Drawing on the social studies of markets in economic sociology, we deploy actor-network theory as a methodology for re-describing the emergence of Budapest’s ruin bars. The marketplace that emerges out of this description is a fragile arrangement of heterogeneous actors that is painstakingly assembled and maintained to allow for the development and survival of this new service. The ruin bar format itself defies prior categorisations of a hospitality service, as it evolves into a hybrid marketplace that combines a pub with a cultural institute in which the seemingly worthless is transformed into something worthy.