Narrative curation and stewardship in contested marketspaces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We identify value narratives as stories that promote certain product or service attributes as benefits within the marketplace. We show how value narratives reflect benefit attributes that align with alternative versus mainstream market settings. Our empirical focus is local food value narratives within a common local food system with alternative settings being farmers’ markets and mainstream settings being supermarkets. Farmers’ market and supermarket purveyors choose which benefit characteristics to emphasize throughout narrative curation, enabling us to witness strategic narrative use, or what we term narrative stewardship. We find that multiple value narratives express an array of ‘local food’ benefits in ways that create a contested marketplace. Narrative deployment at farmers’ markets is guided by an amalgam of institutional perspectives, while narrative use at supermarkets is dominated by a market institutional perspective. We identify a continuum of value narrative stewardship (promotion-neglect) within farmers’ markets that leaves the meaning and value of ‘local food’ vulnerable to mainstream market appropriation via narrative voidance, dilution, and replacement. We propose strategies for better value narrative stewardship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-443
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Contested markets
  • Institutional logics
  • Local food
  • Market movements
  • Narratives
  • Visual data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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