Pyramid or iceberg? Problematizing the fortune to be made from India's austerity

Journal Article


Abstract


  • As far back as the 19th century, the notion of a ‘social pyramid’ was critiqued in the social sciences

    as an inadequate and simplistic model of society. The model encourages the idea that those at the

    bottom of the pyramid (BoP) are uniformly mediocre and the small number at the top overtly

    exceptional—social pyramid thinking not only tends to reflect differences in incomes but blends

    together other ‘traits’ such as talent, genius, values, practices and so on. Despite the disfavour in

    the social sciences throughout the 20th century about the notion of a social pyramid, the concept

    is now enjoying a renaissance in business, marketing and management theory in ‘frontier’ understandings

    of poverty in places such as Brazil and India. This article argues that the idea of vested

    ‘globals’ at the top of the pyramid (ToP) transgresses the concept of a social pyramid because

    India’s ToP engages with the BoP from afar, remotely and in ways difficult to trace. Crucially, it is

    not those in India’s BoP who are demanding of inquiry, but instead those at the ToP in terms of

    their stakes in India’s austerity and their lived distance from these austere conditions.

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • Birtchnell, T. (2013). Pyramid or iceberg? Problematizing the fortune to be made from India's austerity. Marketing Theory: an international review, 13 (3), 389-392.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84882938205

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/927

Number Of Pages


  • 3

Start Page


  • 389

End Page


  • 392

Volume


  • 13

Issue


  • 3

Abstract


  • As far back as the 19th century, the notion of a ‘social pyramid’ was critiqued in the social sciences

    as an inadequate and simplistic model of society. The model encourages the idea that those at the

    bottom of the pyramid (BoP) are uniformly mediocre and the small number at the top overtly

    exceptional—social pyramid thinking not only tends to reflect differences in incomes but blends

    together other ‘traits’ such as talent, genius, values, practices and so on. Despite the disfavour in

    the social sciences throughout the 20th century about the notion of a social pyramid, the concept

    is now enjoying a renaissance in business, marketing and management theory in ‘frontier’ understandings

    of poverty in places such as Brazil and India. This article argues that the idea of vested

    ‘globals’ at the top of the pyramid (ToP) transgresses the concept of a social pyramid because

    India’s ToP engages with the BoP from afar, remotely and in ways difficult to trace. Crucially, it is

    not those in India’s BoP who are demanding of inquiry, but instead those at the ToP in terms of

    their stakes in India’s austerity and their lived distance from these austere conditions.

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • Birtchnell, T. (2013). Pyramid or iceberg? Problematizing the fortune to be made from India's austerity. Marketing Theory: an international review, 13 (3), 389-392.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84882938205

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/927

Number Of Pages


  • 3

Start Page


  • 389

End Page


  • 392

Volume


  • 13

Issue


  • 3