Pedagogies of value: Marketing luxury in China

Máximo Badaró


In just a few years, China has become one of the world’s largest markets for Western luxury products. Marketing professionals play a key role in this market. As symbolic brokers between the production and consumption of goods, they analyze and attempt to shape the relationship between Chinese people and foreign things. In this essay, I explore the ideas and practices of marketing professionals based in China, mainly foreign professionals, surrounding the consumption of foreign luxury goods in China. I develop the notion of “pedagogical value” to refer to the politics of value deployed in marketing activities in China today. The circulation and consumption of foreign goods in China involves power relations that challenge not only the value of things but also the authority to decide what value is and who can create value. I show that the marketing of foreign luxury in China among such professionals is transformed into a political pedagogy of value that attempts to protect the image of foreign luxury in this country as a source of power and value.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/707373