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Soldiers and Superheroes Needed! Masculine Archetypes and Constrained Commodification in the Sperm Donation Market

Sobande, F., Mimoun, L ORCID: 0000-0002-5173-312X & Trujillo Torres, L. (2020). Soldiers and Superheroes Needed! Masculine Archetypes and Constrained Commodification in the Sperm Donation Market. Marketing Theory, 20(1), pp. 65-84. doi: 10.1177/1470593119847250


Extant research on bodily commodification emphasises contexts where market actors can pursue commodification in relatively unconstrained ways. However, scant research examines how marketers foster bodily commodification in markets where institutional constraints limit the value which can be extracted, produced, and/or exchanged. We fill this gap by studying sperm donation services in the United Kingdom and Australia, where a number of governmental regulations limit bodily commodification and value creation processes. Using an archival analysis of visual and textual material, we find that sperm banks in these constrained contexts strategically rely on the marketing of masculine archetypes as a source of value. This paper delineates the concept of constrained bodily commodification and its marketing implications. Moreover, it evidences sociocultural discursive mechanisms by which marketers attempt to overcome constrained commodification issues. Specifically, we emphasise the role of gender archetypes as a resource which allows sperm banks’ marketers to transfer identity value to the donor and donation experience. Finally, this paper also has implications for the theorising of value creation by expanding our understanding of how value is created during consumer disposition processes.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Sobande F, Mimoun L, Torres LT. Soldiers and superheroes needed! Masculine archetypes and constrained bodily commodification in the sperm donation market. Marketing Theory. 2020;20(1):65-84, is published in Marketing Theory published by Sage.
Publisher Keywords: Constrained commodification; Bodily commodification; Sperm donation; Masculinity; Value enactment; Gender archetypes; Systemic value creation; Disposition processes
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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