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The politics of power in (ir)responsible business: Men, masculinities and transnational patriarchies and the case of marketing and consumer research

Venue: Online

Join Birkbeck's Responsible Business Centre for a research seminar exploring the politics of power in (ir)responsible business: Men, masculinities and transnational patriarchies and the case of marketing and consumer research. Dr Wendy Hein will discuss her research which has been published in 'The Routledge Companion to Marketing and Feminism.'

The event will be taking place online on Wednesday 8 December 2021 17:00-18:00 GMT. 


  • Dr Wendy Hein, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Birkbeck, University of London
  • Prof. Jeff Hearn, Hanken School of Economics, Finland; University of Huddersfield, UK; Örebro University, Sweden; and Fellow, UK Academy of Social Science


A repeated assertion in the fight for sustainability is that no change can be achieved unless we simultaneously address gender (in)equality (UN, 2021; Cuff, 2019). Yet, although education, training and action is increasingly focused on climate change and sustainability, understandings of gender equality – or gender equity (Koehler, 2016) – are often neglected, missing or distorted. Similarly, despite efforts of business to increase a focus on gender and intersectionality, these often fail to address the complexities or deep, structural and material issues that remain (Steinfield et al, 2019 a; b). 

This talk seeks to provide perspectives on these structural and material complexities by naming and addressing transnational patriarchies – or transpatriarchies – in the context of marketing and consumer research (MCR; Hein and Hearn, 2022). Research on patriarchies in marketing has surged in recent years, mainly due to the pervasive and continuing injustices, physical and embodied violence caused by markets and marketing (Gurrieri, 2020; Varman et al. 2018; Hein et al. 2016). While a focus is often on the damage these structures, relations and dynamics cause to women, girls and vulnerable populations, less attention is placed on the mechanisms through which men and masculinities, and dominant genders generally, maintain their dominance.  Rooted in the transdisciplinary and feminist field of critical studies of men and masculinities (CSMM), transpatriarchies build on the central pillar of hegemonic masculinity (Connell, 1995), and combines patriarchies with intersectionalities and transnationalisations, thus placing emphasis on the hegemony of men (Hearn, 2004) or gender hegemony in global and postcolonial contexts. Case studies and examples in this talk illuminate how it is these transnational patriarchies and power relations that allow the persistent, marketed violence, exploitation and abuse of women and children, and link to the growing inequalities between those who pay the price, and those who thrive and benefit.  Unless we tackle these growing inequities and transnational structural inequalities, true sustainability will remain a goal for future generations.



Dr Wendy Hein joined the Marketing group in the Management department at Birkbeck in 2011. Her research interest focuses on gender and feminist perspectives in consumer research and marketing, and innovative research methods in this field. She is also interested in transformative research and policy interventions linked to this research.

She has published findings from her ethnographic study of young men’s consumption practices in Scotland. Since 2012, inspired by her role as co-ordinator in the UN PRME gender equality working group, she has been engaged in research on gender equality and equity in marketing and consumer research, with a particular focus on feminisms, power and critical studies in men and masculinities. She worked as part of the FP7 TRIGGER project awarded to Birkbeck, exploring in particular gender cultures within research and science.

At Birkbeck, Wendy is co-chair of the Marketing Subject Development group and programme director of the MSc Marketing. She teaches Consumer Behaviour and Public Relations, and convenes various marketing modules at postgraduate level. Wendy supervises several PhD students, particularly in the context of gender, identities and feminisms, marketing, consumption and organisations.

Jeff Hearn is Professor Emeritus, Hanken School of Economics, Finland; Professor of Sociology, University of Huddersfield, UK; Senior Professor, Gender Studies, Örebro University, Sweden; and Fellow, UK Academy of Social Science. He is co-managing editor, Routledge Advances in Feminist Studies and Intersectionality book series; and was (Co-)Chair, RINGS: International Research Association of Institutions of Advanced Gender Studies 2014-2020. Recent books include: Men of the World: Genders, Globalizations, Transnational Times, Sage, 2015; Revenge Pornography, with Matthew Hall, Routledge, 2017; Engaging Youth in Activism, Research and Pedagogical Praxis: Transnational and Intersectional Perspectives on Gender, Sex, and Race, co-ed. with Tamara Shefer, Kopano Ratele, Floretta Boonzaier, Routledge, 2018; Unsustainable Institutions of Men: Transnational Dispersed Centres, Gender Power, Contradictions, co-ed. with Ernesto Vasquez del Aguila, Marina Hughson, Routledge, 2019; and Age at Work, with Wendy Parkin, Sage, 2021.

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