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Revisiting the Importance of Detachment in the Dynamics of Competition: Lessons from the marketing of an uncertain product

Le Velly R., Goulet F.. 2015. Journal of Cultural Economy, 8 (6) : p. 689-704.

DOI: 10.1080/17530350.2015.1051489

In this paper, we adopt the framework of analysis of the economy of qualities [Callon, M., Méadel, C. & Rabeharisoa, V. (2002) 'The economy of qualities', Economy and Society, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 194¿217] to describe the sales and marketing practices of a French farm supply company whose products have uncertain characteristics and disputed effects. We show that this uncertainty leads sales staff of the company to develop an argument designed to generate attachments but also, and even more importantly, detachments. We also show that these detachments and attachments do not just concern the farmer, the company and its products. To understand the competitive dynamics involved here, it is also necessary to focus on the associations that are broken and established with natural entities, actors in the supply chain, institutions of agricultural science and conceptions of the farming profession.

Mots-clés : agriculture; marché; commercialisation; vente; qualité; concurrence économique; théorie économique; incertitude; produit agricole; enquête; agriculteur; filière

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