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Title: What is branding? : MUJI as a case study
Author: Kobayashi, Nobumi
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 0636
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2016
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The rise of brands has been widely considered as a contemporary Western phenomenon, emerging in the 1980s and exploding in the largely service-oriented economies of the 1990s, and intensified by the emergence of a brand industry, promoting branding practice as new and powerful. This thesis presents the producer's perspective through the biography of Japanese no-brand brand, Mujirushi Ryohin, conceived in the 1970s. Translated as No Brand Quality Goods, this brand was created essentially to be an 'anti-establishment brand' in response to what was viewed as an invasion of European luxury brands. While recent sociological work focuses on information intensive relationality of branding, this study draws attention to material and social relations of the production of the brand. Incorporating interviews with key persons in the creation and production of Mujirushi Ryohin, which were granted through rare access into its management company, Ryohin Keikaku, this thesis presents an empirical and historical account of this brand by drawing attention to minute details of how the company endeavoured to create and to produce the brand as a range of products. In so doing, it employs a historical relational approach, highlighting that how constituent practices of branding develop is contingent upon factors specific to the particular context in which they operate, and following it from its birth through to the late 2000s, as it travelled from Japan to Britain. In this way, the thesis also contributes to debates about the embeddedness of economic/market action, questioning the self-regulating nature of the market, as well as the concept of the rational and, therefore, calculating agents.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available